All Souls' Day

November 2, 2020

Today as we celebrate the Feast of All Souls we might take a look at our Catholic Doctrine of Purgatory. Purgatory is a very beautiful and consoling doctrine.

It is based on the belief that if a person dies in mortal sin their soul would go to hell. If a person dies in the state of grace, that soul would go to heaven. The doctrine is based on the belief that most of us are not bad enough to go to hell, but on the other hand most of us are not good enough to go straight to heaven either. So most of us require a state of purgation or purification before our entrance into heaven.

Furthermore we believe we can aide one another in this passage through prayer. A soul in Purgatory always reaches heaven. Hence, we pray for the dead.

The official Church teaching is this: “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 a purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. The Churchgives the name ‘Purgatory’ to this final purification of the elect, (CC 1030-1031).”

The feast of all Saints that we celebrated yesterday honors the souls in heaven. The Feast of all Souls which we celebrate today is a day on which we pray for the souls in purgatory in order to speed up their passage to heaven.

This day is somber because we miss our loved ones who have departed this world. But it is hopeful because we are still united with them, and we know that they are in the glory of God or at least on their way there with just a layover in Purgatory.

In the Apostles creed we say: “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the Communion of Saints....”

The communion of saints: the souls in heaven, the souls in purgatory, and the souls on earth.

We are the souls on earth, all on a pilgrimage. This is God’s world and we pass through it only once. So we must make the best of it.



Father Terry Hazel