Saturday, November 1, 2008

All Souls Day

This Sunday November 2nd, is the Feast of All Souls. It is a time to remember the deceased and the transitus of the soul into eternal life.

Saint Nicolas of Tolentino knew of our connection to the Poor Souls, their need for our prayers and our need for their salvation. He considered those souls in his daily prayer.

When in 1884 Nicholas of Tolentino was proclaimed "Patron Saint of the Souls in Purgatory" by Pope Leo XIII, confirmation was given to a long-standing aspect of devotion toward this friar which is traced to an event in his own life. On a certain Saturday night as he lay in bed, Nicholas heard Fra Pellegrino of Osimo, a deceased friar who Nicholas had known. Fra Pellegrino revealed that he was in purgatory and he begged Nicholas to offer Mass for him and for the other suffering souls so that they might be set free. For the next seven days, Nicholas did so and was rewarded with a second vision in which the deceased confrere expressed his gratitude and assurance that a great number of people were now enjoying the presence of God through Nicholas' prayers. As this event became known, many people approached Nicholas, asking his intercession on behalf of their own deceased relatives and friends.

The Feast of All Souls Day is a day set aside by the Catholic Church to remember the poor souls in purgatory. On each day during the octave (Nov 2- Nov 9), a plenary indulgence (complete pardon for all past sins and offenses) can be gained for a person who has died (a deceased relative, loved one, friend, etc.) which means that if you pray for their soul on that day, their soul, if still in purgatory, will go to Heaven by your prayers and sacrifices.

You may release 8 souls from purgatory by these means.

1. Remain in the state of grace during the 8 days (i.e., avoid all mortal sin).
2. Receive Holy Communion each day.

3. Visit a Catholic cemetery each day and pray for that soul as follows:
One Our Father
One Hail Mary
One Glory Be
(for the intentions of Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI)
The Apostles Creed
Finally, recite: "Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and, may perpetual light shine upon them".

(pictured above: statue of Saint Nicolas of Tolentino at the National shrine of saint Rita of Cascia, Philadelphia, PA)

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