"Therefore Judas [Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead,
that they might be delivered from their sin."'
-2 Mac 12:46

The Catholic Church in its wisdom and love has set aside the entire month of November for us to pray in a special way for our loved ones who have gone before us.  This ancient pious practice has been lauded throughout the ages and is rooted in the teachings of Sacred Scripture and Church tradition. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.606 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:607

  • As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.608

1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin."609 From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God.610 The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:

  • Let us help and commemorate them. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.611

We invite you to pray with us for our beloved dead throughout this month of November. In addition to our recent Novena of Masses for Our Deceased Loved Ones, I invite you to prayerfully consider a special opportunity made available through Women of Grace in collaboration with our longtime friend, Msgr. Matthew Odong, and the priests of the Archdiocese of Gulu, Northern Uganda. 

Msgr. Matthew will personally arrange for Gregorian Masses and/or single Masses to be offered by priests in the Archdiocese of Gulu for your loved ones. In addition to remembering your loved ones in a special way, you help to support their efforts in the formation of seminarians and priests who gratefully multiply every stipend received through the gift of their vocation.

What a grace to remember our loved ones through the gift of Holy Mass!

To find out more or to participate in this opportunity of mercy, just go to this Mass Page. You may also go directly to the page here:

With gratitude,
Johnnette and the Staff of Women of Grace

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