The Church is traditionally divided into the Church Militant, the Church Penitent, and the Church Triumphant. The Church gives us this month, the month of remembering those of the Church Penitent, or suffering. The Church invites the Church Militant to pray for the Church Penitent, that they may become members of the glorious Church Triumphant.
On November 2, each year the Church remembers those Holy Souls, who although dead to the world, are still journeying toward their Eternal Homeland in Purgatory. Those Holy Souls while in the state of Purgation seek the prayerful assistance of those on earth. Aside from the November 2 feast, the Church declares the entire month of November for that of commemorating the departed.
Within many of our traditional-adhering churches, priests will celebrate the Three Requiem Masses on November 2. The faithful are encouraged to attend these three consecutive Masses for the dead, to assist those in Purgatory, and to partake of the Eucharistic Banquet. Those, who attend these Masses faithfully, also pray the Pater Noster and the Creed will be granted a Plenary Indulgence, under the usual conditions.
A devotion that should not be forgotten in this month of All Souls is that of devoutly visiting a cemetery and offering prayers for the dead. A Plenary Indulgence, applicable to the Holy Souls in Purgatory is granted to the faithful who visit a cemetery November 1 through November 8 and pray for the departed.
While we commemorate those Holy Souls in Purgatory during the month of November, it is also crucial for us to all remember that we too will perish from this world. Members of the Church Militant should strive in this month to conscientiously remember the dead in their prayers, visit a cemetery, and seek to evaluate their own strivings toward holiness, towards sainthood, towards blissful Eternity.
V. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domina.
Seth is a convert to the Church and lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.