Throughout the month of November, we are encouraged to pray for the Faithful Departed. The need and duty of prayer for the dead has been acknowledged by the Church. It is one of the spiritual works of mercy. Reference to praying for the dead can be found in the Old Testament, specifically the Second Book of Maccabees (12:46): “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from sins.” This passage contributes to the Catholic understanding of Purgatory as a state of purification that we must undergo before we can enter into the presence of God in Heaven.
Throughout the month of November, it is a good practice to visit cemeteries and pray for the dead. You can pray the “Eternal Rest” prayer while you are there. You can also add this prayer in between decades of the Rosary or add it to the “Pray before Meals”— which we should all be praying before every meal, even in restaurants! This type of public witness can be very powerful; many people have started their journeys back to God after seeing a family saying “grace” before meals.
The Eternal Rest Prayer: “Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in Peace. Amen.”
The Prayer Before Meals: “Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in Peace. Amen.”
Father Brent Crowe