Can souls in purgatory pray for us? (Can you pray for souls in purgatory + how to pray for souls in Purgatory?)

As a Christian and theologian, I am always interested in understanding other denominations. I recently developed an interest in understanding the Catholic concept of Purgatory. I wanted to know if souls in Purgatory can pray for believers on Earth. I delved into research by consulting Catholic priests, Catholic theologians and reading the Catholic Bible. Finally, I got my answers. So, last week, a member of our interdenominational online forum wanted to know if his mum, who might be in Purgatory, could pray for him. Many people, including the Catholics, had different opinions. With all the information I had gathered, I offered my in-depth insight and put the debate to rest. So, can souls in purgatory pray for us?

The direct answer is yet to be agreed upon because some Saints, like Saint Thomas, believed that souls in Purgatory could not pray for us. Others, like Saint Alphonsus, believed that souls in Purgatory could pray for us because they love us so much and are already sure of their fate—heaven.

Join me as I write about whether Souls in Purgatory can pray for us or not. I will also discuss different prayers you can say while praying for the souls in Purgatory.

Can Souls in Purgatory Intercede for Us?

Can you pray for souls in purgatory?
Can Souls in Purgatory Intercede for Us? Image source: Pixabay

The Catholic Church members hold different views regarding this possibility. Some members, like Saint Thomas, suggest that the Souls in Purgatory might be unable to intercede for us. In that case, believers who are alive are the ones supposed to intercede for them.

However, other Saints had contradicting opinions; Saint Alphonsus says that the Souls in Purgatory have no impediment that makes it difficult to intercede for believers on Earth. They are considered to have information about believers’ prayers from God, so they might be able to intercede for the believers. However, the Church is yet to follow this thought formally.

Can the souls in purgatory help us?

If you follow what Saint Bellarmine believed, it is possible for Souls in Purgatory to help you. He believed that Souls in Purgatory are in unity with God, and they are assured of salvation. They are the dear ones of God, and most importantly, they genuinely love their people on Earth and understand their divine needs. Therefore, as the saint says, they might be able to intercede for believers in the world and help them with their divine needs.

Can souls in purgatory pray for themselves?

The Catholic Church tradition holds that the Souls in Purgatory might not be able to pray for themselves. This is the reason the Church urges believers to always pray for the souls in Purgatory. The believers are also told to pray out of love and not duty. You may also pray that the saints intercede for the souls in Purgatory.

How to pray for souls in Purgatory?

Offering a mass for the departed souls

You can get into Church with the parish where you attend mass and organize mass for your departed loved one. It is always a custom to hold mass for the dead on the third, seventh, and thirteenth day after their death. You can be part of the mass if you intend to pray for them.

You can also pray the Novena

Novena, composed by Saint Ligouri for the sake of the souls in Purgatory, is a longer way of praying for the dead. It is often said while waiting for All Souls Day.

Going to the Cemetery

The faithful have an opportunity to be part of the indulgence for the souls in Purgatory by visiting the cemetery and praying for the souls. You can pray this way by visiting your loved ones’ cemetery in the first eight days of November.

Say the “Eternal Rest Prayer”

You can also pray for the souls by saying the “Eternal Rest prayer” In this prayer, you ask God to grant the souls eternal peace and shine the perpetual light on them. When the souls receive eternal peace, they are out of Purgatory. You can say this prayer before or after you take your meal as a family.

You can also say the prayer of Saint Gertrude the Great

Catholics believe Saint Gertrude was so dedicated to praying for the deceased, which made Jesus teach her the prayer for the dead. The prayer is believed to be powerful enough to free almost a thousand souls from Purgatory.

Do the souls in Purgatory know we are praying for them?

Can souls in purgatory pray for us?
Do the souls in Purgatory know we are praying for them? Image source: Pixabay

According to Archbishop Shein, the saints might know that you pray for them. It is unclear whether they know while still in purgatory or when they come out. However, there is a chance you might meet them in heaven, and they might thank you for praying for them—meaning they might have been aware.

What happens when you pray for the souls in Purgatory?

The souls could get relieved from the pain when you pray for them

Souls in Purgatory are said to be undergoing a lot of pain as they get purified. Their pain might be close to the pain that people will go through in hell. It might be worse than we imagine because they go through seven stages with different kinds of pain. In this much pain, the souls are said to be alienated from God and cannot even seek help from Him. Therefore, when you pray for them, you might be helping them get the strength to forge on to the next and final stages, where they get close to a painless paradise.

It might offer you a sense of joy and comfort

When you pray for the souls in purgatory, you might get comforted in your heart knowing they will make it through Purgatory. Also, Archbishop Shein explains that when you get to heaven, you will probably see the souls you prayed for while they were in Purgatory, and they will be so happy. They will thank you for praying for them, and you will be filled with joy knowing you prayed for them.

It could fulfill you as a person created in the image and likeness of God

When you pray for the souls in Purgatory, you might be doing so because you want them to go to heaven. Your desires are similar to God’s desires because God wants all His people to go to heaven. Therefore when you do pray intentionally for the souls in purgatory, you are acting in accordance with your being an image bearer of God.

How long do you pray for someone in Purgatory?

According to Catholic culture, they mostly pray for the souls in Purgatory for 8 days. According to their church culture, they have an event called plenary indulgence. The plenary indulgence happens in November from the 1st to the 8th. They visit their loved ones and even other people they never knew in the Catholic cemetery, and with grace, they say the prayers. The consistency of prayer from day one to day eight might help the Souls in purgatory to heaven.

However, believers are not restricted to just praying for the Souls in Purgatory for eight days in November; they can also pray every day or once a week. They are advised to utter prayers of the Divine Mercy prayers and say the Rosary for them. Saying the prayers plus the Rosary could take up to 20 minutes maximum. This means that if you pray daily for the dead, you will spend almost 20 minutes a day. However, praying even once a week for them might be helpful.

Why You Should Pray for the Souls in Purgatory Every Day

 Can you pray for souls in purgatory?
Why You Should Pray for the Souls in Purgatory Every Day. Image source: Pixabay

It could help with God granting them the gift of grace. When you pray for the souls in Purgatory daily, they could receive God’s grace which prepares them for heaven as they get purified. Praying for them every day makes sense because while some souls might be completing their time in Purgatory, at the same time, other souls are just starting their Purgatory journey. Therefore, it is essential to pray for them every day.

3 prayers for souls in Purgatory

Prayer of Saint Gertrude the Great

“Eternal Father, I offer You the most Precious Blood of Your Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for all sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.” From Holy Souls Solidarity

In this prayer, you are praying to God on behalf of those in Purgatory by offering Him His son’s blood. You are not just praying for those you know but also for the rest of those in Purgatory. Catholics believe that this prayer serves to help almost a thousand souls in Purgatory.

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. From Holy Souls Solidarity.

In this prayer, you ask God that He helps you in Purgatory rest in peace. While in Purgatory, the souls are in continuous anguish and pain and lack peace. So when you ask for their peace, you might be equally praying for their exit from Purgatory to heaven.

Prayer of Saint Faustina

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in PURGATORY, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You, by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son, and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded, manifest Your mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way than through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is no limit to your goodness and compassion.” From Diary of St. Faustina.

The prayer of Saint Faustina directs you to ask God to give you mercy for all the souls in Purgatory. You are asking God to help you be sensitive to the sufferings of the souls in Purgatory. Also, you are asking Him to help those suffering in Purgatory.

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