PRAYERS FOR THE HOLY SOULS
One of the most consoling doctrines of the Catholic Church is that of the Communion of Saints. All men-the saints in Heaven, we upon earth, the souls in Purgatory- are members of one great family. By this "bond of perfection" which unites the Suffering and Triumphant Church with the Militant Church on earth, incorporating them into one body, mutual charity becomes an obligation. This reciprocal love, being the duty of all men, renders it imperative that all should pray for one another, for in this general prayer, offered mutually, Christian charity is most beautifully and eloquently expressed.
From this general obligation we derive the special duty to pray for the suffering souls in Purgatory, who are unable in their extreme distress to do anything for their own relief. It has always been the belief of holy Church, that the faithful, united in the Communion of Saints, can mutually assist each other. As the saints in heaven pray for us, so must we also offer our petitions for the suffering souls in Purgatory, that God in His goodness and mercy, may mitigate and shorten their punishment, and hasten their entrance into Heaven. It is the doctrine of the Church that the faithful on earth are really able to relieve the temporal punishment of the souls in Purgatory. "In this," says the Roman Catechism, "the supreme mercy and forgiveness of God deserve our grateful acknowledgement and praise, that He has granted to our frailty the privilege that one may satisfy for another."
Prayer: O Lord, Jesus Christ, Thou Who hast said, "Where there are two or three gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them" look mercifully upon Thy holy Church, who implores Thy clemency in behalf of her suffering members. End their intense pain, and open unto them the portals of the heavenly Jerusalem, that they may praise and bless Thee forever and ever. Amen.
Special intercession: Pray for those who, during the course of their earthly lives, did most to relieve the souls in Purgatory.
Lord grant them eternal rest and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.
(200 days’ Indulgence to all who recite this prayer three times every day.)
Practice: Attend the public devotion for the suffering souls.
Invocation: My Jesus, mercy!
(100 days’ Indulgence every time. Pius IX.)