The Church teaches that there is a Communion of Saints, those on earth (the Church Militant), those that are in Purgatory (the Church Suffering), and those that have made it to eternal glory in Heaven (the Church Triumphant). The faithful souls being purified in purgatory are celebrated on November 2nd, but also the entire month of November. On this day we remember and honor them for the lives that they lived in great faithfulness to God so as to make it to Purgatory, and we also pray for them as they are being purified.
Revelation 21:27 speaks of Heaven in this way, "...nothing unclean shall enter it." While we might not see the word purgatory in Scripture, we know that it means to purge, or to cleanse, and that this is important to being with Our Lord in the Heavenly Jerusalem.
The theological meaning behind this feast day is that upon death, souls depart from the body and are to be cleansed from their venial sins before receiving the beatific vision. The faithful on earth can assist these souls with prayer and sacrifice, especially offering Mass for them.
We all have loved ones that have passed away, people that were special to us or left an impact on our lives in one way or another. In honor of those lives, I have listed seven ways that we can not only remember them, but also show that we are still bonded to them as a Communion of Saints.
1. Remember the faithful departed
Put up pictures of relatives that have passed away with a small tea light in front of each picture. This way your family can remember to pray for their souls and share fond stories of your passed loved ones. Keep it up all November!
I had these "Eternal Rest" frames made as a Liturgy Market exclusive so that you could add a special photo to your home altar. Thank you rough2rustic for doing this for us! On November 1st, 2022, you can click the photo below to purchase, print a picture of your loved one, and hang on your home altar.
2. Make a Memorial Candle
Purchase a glass candle from the dollar store and write their names on the outside or you could print their picture and names then tape it on. This is an easy and inexpensive way to honor the souls that we are praying for in our home.
These were made with dollar store pillar candles, a printed photo of the beloved deceased, and mod podge.
3. Visit a Cemetery
Visit the cemetery of a family member that has passed and pray for their soul. You could also read from scripture, pray a litany of the holy souls, walk around, or bring flowers to freshen up their grave.
4. Pray the Requiem Aeternam
This is a traditional prayer for the poor souls in purgatory that you can pray on All Souls Day. My family prays the second half of this prayer every time we say grace over our meals.
Prayer Before Meals
Bless us, O Lord,
and these Thy gifts,
which we are about to receive
from Thy bounty through Christ, our Lord.
Prayer After Meals
We give Thee thanks for all Thy benefits,
O Almighty God,
who livest and reignest world without end.
May the souls of the faithfully departed,
through the mercy of God,
rest in peace.