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All Souls Day: “We must pray much for them…”

The tradition of the saints helping the dead continues today in the Roman Catholic Church which particularly dedicates the month of November to them. On 2 November, it celebrates All Souls’ Day by offering the Eucharist and prayers for them. Saints such as Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Bologna, and the Cure d’Ars were revered for their devotion in praying for the souls in purgatory (that is, the state of being purified) and the Council of Vienna in 1858 confirmed their belief that those in purgatory can intercede for the living. The Cure d’Ars explained, ‘We must pray much for them so they may pray much for us.’

The Church of England also celebrates All Souls’ Day. As one Anglican minister put it simply, ‘For centuries people have celebrated funerals, usually some days after the person has died. If we can pray for a person three days after their death, surely we can continue to pray for them?’

–from Healing the Family Tree by Dr. Kenneth McAll, Ch. 8: ‘To the Lord in prayer’



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