Prayers and Practices for the Souls in Purgatory


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In Every Need, Go to Mary

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By Chris Sparks

The Church dedicates November to prayers for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Given the many people who've faced suffering or passed away in the last couple of years through pandemic, natural disasters, and too many other tragedies, it's appropriate that we take some time this month to remember those whom we've lost, and ask Our Lady's special care and intercession for them all.

Here at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, for instance, we've lost Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, and Fr. Walter Gurgul, MIC. We lost Marc Massery, the former editor of this newsletter. The list goes on of Marian Helpers past and present who've passed this year, and their friends and family, as well. I'm sure it's similar for you.

Let's put them all in the arms of Our Lady. She takes care of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, as St. Faustina tells us: "I saw Our Lady visiting the souls in Purgatory. The souls call her 'The Star of the Sea.' She brings them refreshment" (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 20).

As we remember those whom we've lost, let's also remember to pray for those who are still with us, still traveling alongside us on this pilgrimage through the valley of tears. Our Lady is a loving mother to all her children, but especially to those most in need of God's mercy. She is truly the Mother of Mercy, Refuge of Sinners. She comes to her children at the times of our greatest need, at the turning points of human history, and brings us the graces and the devotions that we need to win the battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil, in order to make our way safely home to Heaven in the end.

We are called this month to pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, but also to pray for ourselves and our neighbors as we live in this world, working out our salvation with fear and trembling. And the liturgical feasts of November give us several powerful Marian devotions with which to do it.

This month, we commemorate Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal on Nov. 27, recalling her apparitions to St. Catherine Laboure, through whom the Church received the gift of the Miraculous Medal. Our Lady promised tremendous graces to those who would wear the medal around the neck and pray the accompanying prayer every day: "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee."

If we don't do this already, let's make wearing the Miraculous Medal a habit. That gives us great opportunities to say the prayer when we are in the company of folks who don't share our Catholic faith, or who need a special grace from God. There have been so many miracles associated with devout prayer accompanied by wearing the medal that it earned the name "Miraculous." In these hard times, let's open the door to even more miracles.

We also celebrate the Feast of Our Lady, Mother of the Word, this month, on Nov. 28. Commemorating the extraordinary apparitions of Our Lady in Kibeho, Rwanda, to a number of school children during the 1980s, the feast is also an occasion to recall that Our Lady asked at Kibeho for us to pray the Seven Sorrows Rosary. She promised that those who would take up this ancient devotion would be blessed with all the graces we need in order to convert our lives.

So as we remember those whom we've lost and pray for our loved ones, alive or dead, let us turn with confidence to Our Lady in every need, asking her to extend her motherly love and concern to those most in need of her Son. Let us take up the Miraculous Medal and the Seven Sorrows Rosary as powerful means of waging spiritual combat and go into battle for those whom we love.

Our Lady, Mother of God and of the Church, pray for us!

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