Easy Family Activities for the Month of November
For Catholics, November is the month we remember the dead.
On November 1st, we celebrate all the saints in heaven, who are our hope and help and inspiration. The rest of the month, we focus on the holy souls in purgatory. (They are also called poor souls . . . same souls, they are "poor" because they are suffering, and "holy" because they will definitely get to heaven some day, it's just a matter of time.)
We pray especially for the souls of our family members who have died, and aren't quite in heaven yet, but will get there with our assistance. And we pray for the souls who have no one else to pray for them. As Catholics, we believe that our prayers and sacrifices offered to God can help the souls in purgatory to get to heaven. It is something very real and important that even little kids can do!
Our family has a few activities we like to do each year, that we've found to be fun and meaningful. I thought you might like to join us. So I jotted them down.\
1. Get Some Indulgences Applicable to the Poor Souls
There are some really awesome opportunities to gain plenary (or full) indulgences on November 2, and for the entire week of November 1-8th, that are applied to the poor souls in purgatory. The rest of the month (and the rest of the year) you can get partial indulgences.
I talked all about it in this post:
We visited our local cemetery today, to leave flowers on graves and pray for the dead, both at that cemetery, and our own beloved dead. The kids really do look forward to it each year. There are lots of cultures who do a great job of remembering their dead in a way that's tangible to kids, but I think that for most Americans, it's a foreign concept. Many of us tend to try to keep the idea of death and the dead far away from our kids. But it doesn't have to be like that. Catholic tradition is not to hide death, but to prepare for it, and to remember those who have gone before us.
Each day this week, we'll stop by once per day, and without getting out of the car we'll pray for all the poor souls. It take just a few minutes, but it really makes this month and those souls real to our family.
2. Pray Some Very Efficacious Prayers
There are two prayers that are especially good for this month.
Prayer for the Poor Souls in Purgatory aka Requiem Prayer
V. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
R. And let the perpetual light shine upon them.
And may the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
and the Prayer for the Holy Souls in Purgatory by St. Gertrude the Great
I offer You the most precious blood
of thy Divine Son, Jesus,
in union with the Masses said
throughout the world today,
for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory,
for sinners everywhere,
for sinners in the universal Church,
for those in my own home,
and in my family. Amen.