Why Pray for the Dead?
On November 2, Catholics observe the Feast of All Souls. This is a day to remember our beloved dead and pray for them. At our parish, there is a table where parishioners can display photographs of their deceased loved ones. It is there for most of the month of November.
But why do Catholics pray for the dead? For many of us cradle Catholics, this is a very natural practice. But for non-Catholics this can seem strange and pointless. After all, our beloved dead are in God’s hands.
But Catholics believe in Purgatory, which is a state of purification. Even though our sins are forgiven, the consequences of our sin may linger. If we throw a ball and break a window, we may be forgiven. But the window is still broken. This is a time of repairing the window.
So our prayers for those in Purgatory are an expression of our trust in God’s mercy. In Purgatory, God is repairing our broken parts so we can live with Him forever. We must cooperate with Him in this work of love.
For it is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.2 Maccabees 12:46
The Guardian’s Farewell is a beautiful song/prayer remembering those who are passed away. It can be sung at a Mass of Remembrance.
The USCCB provides this prayer for those who has passed away.
Purgatory is very biblical.