Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Remember the Holy Souls

By Rev. Antonio Das Neves
Pastor, St. Vincent Ferrer, Sun City

This month of the Holy Souls (November), it is well for us to stop and think for a moment about our helpless members of the Church suffering – the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Perhaps many of our relatives, friends and acquaintances are numbered among them – souls who have died many years ago, but have been forgotten by us. This is not due to a lack of gratitude or love on our part, but often we are swallowed up with bills to be paid, families to be fed, a job that occupies our mind and taxes our physical resources all day. There are a million and one things to occupy our minds and so we tend to forget the Silent Sufferers.

Many times there are crosses in life – they are big and small – but if we take them as they come, realizing that God has sent them for a purpose, and offer them for the Holy Souls, again we can help them reach heaven. So, a headache borne in silence and for the love of God and the Holy Souls may perhaps save one soul centuries of suffering. Act of self-denial and small acts of penance are good works to help the Holy Souls. It can be giving an offering to the poor! Be assured that if you remember the poor souls they will never forget you.

As a priest, I remember those souls near and dear to me every day in the Mass and all those for whom I celebrated the funerals. This year I filled out the All Souls envelope and the list was larger than the spaces provided and included also in the Novena which is said in the parish. I realize that each year I lose a few friends. As I loved them in life, I promise again not to forget them in death, especially in these occasions through the Holy Mass.

During the month of November, the month of the Holy Souls, it might be well to take time to write to friends you write to only once a year, or tell the people closest to you how much you love them, or visit those who are sick to assure them that they are not forgotten. Recall that these people, the closest of your loved ones, can and will repay your debts one day by begging God to grant you the freedom you gained for them.

“We have loved them in life; let us not forget them in death.” – St. Ambrose


  1. Sharon Callon-SchwartzNovember 13, 2009 at 9:08 AM

    Every day, I am challenged to see Jesus in each person I encounter, no matter the situation. Most of the time I rejoice, but sometimes, I wonder, "O Lord, why me?"
    When that happens, I recall a gregarious priest friend who shared with me that he was just trying to get into heaven - and, because of his faults & failings, he felt that he was just 'hanging onto purgatory by his fingernails'! It was a humorous way to remind himself that he had a lot of room for improvement & much more to do here on earth in order to make it into heaven...it kept him humble.
    So, when life is stressful, I mimic him physically hanging onto purgatory with my hands above my head (like I'm hanging from a window ledge), and, I state that "I'm hanging onto Purgatory." After the laughter subsides, I say a prayer for the grace and perseverance to carry on...and, I offer up my current difficulty for those in purgatory. It may seem like an odd method for increasing personal humility, but it helps.
    Doing Christ's work often focuses on the task and person immediately before us: so much so that we can put off keeping in touch with those 'unseen'. I love Fr. Das Neves' reminder to reach out to those we haven't seen in some time during the month of All Souls. Sending a note of caring & appreciation in our fast-paced, disposable society speaks volumes of Jesus' love to the 'unseen' members of the Body of Christ.
    Thanks for the reminder, Fr. Das Neves.

  2. Great points Father Tony!

    I always like to remember what Yogi Berra said about remembering the dead:

    "You should always go to other people's funerals, otherwise, they won't come to yours."


    Brian Joos


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