The souls in purgatory are sending out an SOS

By Joseph Pronechen –

The Holy Souls know there is only one door that gets them out of purgatory. That door opens one way — into heaven. Yet there’s a catch. They are looking for someone to open it for them. They can’t open it themselves, and they’re all waiting to join the saints on the other side of the door.  The Church wisely places All Souls Day right next to November 1 All Saint’s Day, and dedicates all of November to the Holy Souls.

St. Faustina Kowalska’s guardian angel took her to purgatory where she saw “a great crowd of suffering souls. They were praying fervently, but to no avail, for themselves; only we can come to their aid.”  Their greatest suffering? “They answered…in one voice that their greatest torment was longing for God. I saw Our Lady visiting the souls in Purgatory. The souls call her ‘The Star of the Sea.’ She brings them refreshment…I heard an interior voice, which said, ‘My mercy does not want this, but justice demands it.’ Since that time, I am in closer communion with the suffering souls.”  (Diary 20)

Good advice for us.

The Holy Souls can get to heaven a lot quicker if we unlock that door for them. We can do that because we have the key. Here’s the beauty part. The Church hands us not one single key, but a whole ring of them to keep unlocking the door for the suffering souls longing to get through it.

Some of the keys work every day; some only at a certain time, like the key that works November 1 – 8, specifically for souls in purgatory. These are listed in the official Manual of Indulgences, Fourth Edition. For these nine days, the Church grants a plenary indulgence that can only be applied to the souls in purgatory. The faithful can receive this indulgence each of the nine days to apply to a particular soul — a parent, spouse, relative, friend, or anyone, even unknown. Maybe someone who never has anyone praying for them.

How to use this key? On each day from November 1-8, anyone seeking the plenary indulgence for a soul must 1) devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, if only mentally, for the departed; 2) on All Souls’ Day (or according to the ordinary, on the Sunday preceding it or following it…) devoutly visit a church or an oratory and recite an Our Father and the Creed.

There are a couple of other requirements that have to be fulfilled, too, which apply to any plenary indulgence. More on this later since it also applies to all the keys.

For these same days, there is a partial indulgence if a person isn’t able to fulfill all the requirements for a plenary indulgence. The partial is granted for 1) devoutly visiting a cemetery and at least mentally praying for the dead; 2) devoutly reciting lauds or vespers from the Office of the Dead or the prayer “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace.”

Don’t stop here. You have all month to gain indulgences for the holy souls sending out their SOS’s (Stop Our Suffering). You can help them with these next powerful, handy, everyday major keys that will readily open heaven’s door. These four can gain that plenary indulgence — with the usual conditions — “each day of the year,” but “no more than once a day.”

  1. Do Eucharistic Adoration. “Visit the Blessed Sacrament for adoration lasting at least a half hour.”
  2. Pray the Rosary. “Devoutly recite the Marian Rosary in a church or oratory, or in a family, a religious community, or an association of the faithful, and in general when several of the faithful gather for some honest purpose…” Didn’t Our Lady of Fatima tell us how powerful is the Rosary?
  3. Read or listen to Sacred Scriptures “as spiritual reading, from a text approved by a competent authority, and with the reverence due to the divine Word, for at least a half an hour; if the time is less, the indulgence will be partial.” Or listen to it being read.
  4. Make the Way of the Cross. Walk them in church or where legitimately erected.

You can apply these indulgences either to yourself — you cannot give it to another living person — or to a Holy Soul in purgatory this November and all year.

These are the prescribed works every plenary indulgence must fulfill. They are joined to the Standard Requirements for a plenary indulgence that open the door fully. You must:

  1. Be baptized and in the state of grace, at least at the time the indulgenced work is done.
  2. Have “the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin.” Otherwise, the indulgence becomes partial, not plenary.
  3. Fulfill these three conditions:
    1. Sacramentally confess your sins
    1. Receive Holy Communion. (It is certainly better to receive it while participating in Holy Mass, but for the indulgence only Holy Communion is required).
    1. Pray for the intentions of the Holy Father, one Our Father and one Hail Mary.

One sacramental confession suffices for gaining several plenary indulgences, but a separate Holy Communion and separate prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father are required for each plenary indulgence. You must also have:

4.  At least a general intention to gain the indulgence. You can’t receive an indulgence unintentionally or by accident.

If any of these requirements are missing, the indulgence becomes partial. Heaven determines the degree of “partial.”

Don’t forget other powerful keys like attending Mass for the Holy Souls, having Mass offered for a departed soul and praying, in general, for them.

We’re on the receiving end, too. As we’re turning the key to open heaven’s door for the holy souls, we should be progressing in our spiritual life. Once you open the door into heaven for the suffering holy souls, they never forget you. They become your grateful friends, helping you get to heaven. We certainly can use lots of friends in heaven helping us.

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  1. Thank you. This Is perfect to share. Much needed message.

  2. I am dedicated to help the souls in Purgatory. My Pop taught me to pray for the Holy Souls
    at the end of the blessing before meals when I was in first grade.

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