Our Community at Large: Remembering the Holy Souls

Yesterday, Br. Emmanuel so appropriately set the stage for CBC and how both community and evangelization are both meant to be ordered toward Sainthood. In my own modest involvement with Catholic Beer Club, I have always viewed it as a way to fulfill the old adage of striving to be in the world but not of the world (see Romans 12:2). Catholic Beer Club attempts to take a secular experience of having a beer at a bar with friends and transforms it into a meaningful experience. In business terminology, we equate this to adding value (for all of those Business Majors out there). However, to the dismay of the Businessman or analytically minded individual, there is no particular way to measure the value that CBC brings, namely, how does one measure the value of community, relationships, sanctity, or even the value of one human soul? The truth is we can’t capture any of these facets within a single variable (#deadendbutnotdeadyet).

As St. Paul tells us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” The Value or Good that is added through CBC is not just in having a “good ol’ time” with people who are like-minded and share the same beliefs. The goal is to attain sanctity and sainthood, as Br. Emmanuel reminded us, through the conversion of our lives. We hopefully all will one day be numbered in the Community of Saints as we celebrated yesterday on All Saints Day. However, because our world is still stricken with the presence of sin, we know that not everyone who dies is ready to be with God face-to-face (i.e. The Beatific Vision). Hence, the Church celebrates today the Feast of All Souls Day, or the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed.

In my experience, this day has often been overlooked or forgotten among Catholics, and rarely addressed by other Christians outside of the Church. All Souls Day is drowned out by All Saints Day, and rightly so if becoming a Saint is our ultimate goal. But many of the Saints remind us of the importance of remembering and praying for the faithful departed who are still in Purgatory. One such saint is St. Pio of Pietrelcina (aka. Padre Pio). St. Padre Pio had so many encounters with the souls in purgatory that he had gotten very comfortable with them and was no longer afraid to see them. However, one story about St. Pio’s encounter with the Holy Souls has really stuck with me:

A friar testified: "We were all in the dining room when Padre Pio got suddenly up and walked at steady pace to the door of the convent. He opened it and started having a conversation. The two friars that went with him didn't see anybody and started thinking that something might be wrong with Padre Pio. On the way back to the dining area Padre Pio explained. 'Don't worry. I was talking to some souls on their way from Purgatory to Paradise. They came to thank me that I remembered them today in the Mass.' " 

I think there are two main points of reflection to take away from this story: one is of the importance and power of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and two is the importance of remembering the Holy Souls in our thoughts, prayers, and sacrifices. I was taught at a young age that every time we drove past a cemetery to make the sign of the cross and pray a prayer for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. During this day especially, the Church offers us a chance to receive a plenary indulgence applicable to the souls in Purgatory. The Handbook of Indulgences states that in order to receive this indulgence, one must:

·         Visit a church and pray for the souls in Purgatory.

·         Say an “Our Father” and the “Apostles Creed” in the Church.

·         Say an “Our Father” and one “Hail Mary” for the Holy Father’s intentions.

·         Worthily receive Holy Communion, ideally on the same day.

·         Make a sacramental confession within 20 days of All Souls Day.

·         For a plenary indulgence be free from all attachment to sin, even venial sin (otherwise, the indulgence is only a partial indulgence).

Additionally, another plenary indulgence is offered for those who visit a cemetery from November 1st- November 8th and pray for the Holy Souls. The same requires as above must be met.

So, as champions of the New Evangelization and promoters of community, I encourage all CBC members to join me in remembering and praying for the Holy Souls as they are in communion with the Church in Heaven and with us here on earth.



Michael Pesely

Michael Pesely