Remembering to Pray for the Dead

At our parish this morning the pastor read the names of parishioners who have passed away since All Souls Day last year. The church bells were slowly tolling as we remembered our brothers and sisters who have gone before us. For the month of November, we place the names of our deceased loved ones on a table in the sanctuary with lit candle; all in the hope that our sacrifice and prayers of supplication will aid them in their final journey to heaven. I find this practice most consoling and uplifting. Still, I lament that many Christians neglect this duty; perhaps due to a misunderstanding or denial of the doctrine of Purgatory.

It seemed that this year's list of names was quite long, and at the same time the number of envelopes bearing names of deceased friends and relatives seemed few. Apologetics is simply not my forte and so I hesitate to get embroiled in defending the practice of praying for the dead. Nevertheless, I regard it as spiritual common sense and a tenet of Catholic Faith, that it is useful and necessary to remit the temporal punishment due our sins; even as the sacrifice of Jesus has atoned for our eternal punishment.

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