To develop the knowledge of the purpose of this feast.
To develop a love for the holy souls and a desire to help them.
On All Saints’ Day we honor all the saints who live with God and the angels in heaven. On All Souls’ Day we must remember the suffering souls who died for God.
Certainty of Death
All people must die because of original sin. We are made up of body and soul. Beacause we have a body, we suffer, get sick, and some day will die. Our soul, however, will never die. It is immortal. If we love God perfectly upon earth and serve Him faithfully, we will go to heaven for eternal reward. If we love God but do not make up for our sins, we must go to purgatory to suffer for a time.
Purpose of Purgatory
Many good people die before they had a chance to make up for all the little sins they committed. They cannot go to heaven until they are cleansed of all stain of sin. God loves these people and wants them with Himself. Therefore, in His mercy, He created a place called purgatory. The poor souls must remain there and suffer until they atone for all their sins. (Explain “atone.”) The poor souls in purgatory know that some day, when they will have been cleansed from the stain of sin, they will go to heaven forever.
We Can Help the Poor Souls
The poor souls in purgatory cannot help themselves any more. They look down to us, begging for help. We can do a great deal to help them. Our prayers, our little sacrifices, our Masses are some helps we can give. Each prayer, each sacrifice, each Mass offered for a person who has died and gone to purgatory will help bring him closer to heaven and sometimes help him enter into heaven. If any person enters heaven through our kind help we may be sure that he will never forget us. He will pray for us to God and some day come to our help if we must suffer in purgatory.
The Catholic Church remembers the poor souls in purgatory in a special way on All Souls’ Day. During the whole month of November we remember to help the poor souls more than in any other month. They want to go to heaven as soon as possible, and they need our prayers and sacrifices to shorten their stay in purgatory. (Discuss what sacrifices could be made to help the poor souls.)
What We Can Do for Ourselves
We can help ourselves shorten our own stay in purgatory. In God’s justice we must do penance to make up for our sins. Now is the time to do it while we are on earth. Our daily prayers well said, going to Mass often, obeying God’s laws, making sacrifices for love of God, suffering willingly whatever suffering God sends, are some of the ways which will help us avoid purgatory or help us leave their quickly if we should have to go there. (Can you name other helpful ways?)
1. Why must we die?
2. What happens when we die?
3. Can the holy souls help themselves?
4. Can we help the holy souls get to heaven? How?
5. What can the poor souls do for us?
Virtues and Practices
Pray for the holy souls in purgatory
Make sacrifices for the poor souls.
Follow the links above and gain indulgences for the souls in purgatory.
Suggested Learning Activities
Read “Helping the Holy Souls,” “A Party at School,” and/or “All Souls’ Day” by Sister Marguerite in Their Hearts are His Garden