All Souls' Day

Article excerpt

THE Feast of All Souls follows All Saints' Day and commemorates the faithful departed, those who die in God's faith and friendship, in the Catholic tradition. The belief is that not all who die immediately are ready for the reality and goodness of God and heaven, so they must be purged of their sins. The Catholic Church calls this purification of the elect "purgatory." The Catholic teaching on Purgatory essentially requires belief in two realities, the first that there will be a purification of believers prior to entering heaven and second that the prayers and masses of the faithful benefit those in the state of purification.

All Souls is the day to remember, pray for, and offer requiem masses for these faithful departed in the state of purification. Typically, Christians will take this day to offer prayers on behalf of their departed relatives and friends. This may be done in the form of the Office of the Dead, a prayer service offered in memory of departed loved ones. Often this office is prayed on the anniversary of the death of a loved one or on All Souls' Day. …