Pondicherry Archdiocese

The Unbreakable Relationship with Our Departed Faithful


The month of November is specially dedicated to the holy souls in purgatory. On the 2nd of November we celebrate ‘All Souls Day’. That day all the priests are permitted to offer three masses, one for their personal intention, one for the souls in purgatory and the one for the intentions of the Holy Father. That day the faithful decorate the graves of their beloved departed ones, light candles and the priests go around and bless all the graves.


One of the most fundamental features of our Catholic faith is the belief in the communion between the living and the dead. On the 1st of November we celebrate the feast of All Saints who lived the beatitudes of Christ and followed Him on the path of faithful discipleship. They participated in Christ and making his kingdom of truth, goodness and light a reality in the world. Thus a saint is not someone motivated merely by an afterlife reward or a self – centered bliss. Sainthood is a summons to active, faithful discipleship and mission. The saints inspire us and intercede for us so that we too live the beatitudes of Christ and bring God’s vision to fulfillment.


On 2nd of November we express our communion with those who are still in the process of purification before the beatific vision. We remember them in the celebration of all souls. The bonds of love between the living and the dead are not broken by death. Our love for them and their love for us endure. Sadness, sorrow, grief may fill us the living, but that is a reminder of their presence and love in our lives. Our faith assures us that love is eternal, that the bonds of love can never be reversed. We continue to be united to our loved ones who have died. This is the insight behind what we confess each Sunday as our belief in The ‘Communion of Saints’. Without denying the reality of physical death, we affirm our eternal connection with our loved ones. We remember them to God is the source of our life and love, the beginning and end of our destiny.

Our life is a mystery. We cannot comprehend it, but we can grasp and understand. Birth, death and resurrection are parts of our life. Birth and death, we know and experience because we see people being born and dying in and around us. We can easily accept this since this is a day-to-day life experience. But it is difficult to accept the resurrection from death because we have not seen anyone rising from the dead. So it becomes difficult for us to accept the parts of our creed ‘Resurrection from the dead” as we accept birth and death.

Though resurrection from the dead is a mystery to be believed, we can try to grasp and understand. I would like to explain it through an analogy so that ordinary people can understand. Our life in this world could be compared to our life in the womb of our mother. The life in the womb is temporary (9 months). All that the child needs is provided in the womb. The child grows. In the womb it is well protected. It does not feel the cold or heat which is outside. At the same time the child in the womb cannot see and enjoy the beauty of this world, the wonderful creation of God. It cannot see light, colours, Sun, Moon, Flowers and cannot even see its own parents. It cannot know how they look. Only when the child is born it is able to enjoy all the beauty and see the parents and others face to face. In the same way when we are in the world everything we need is provided by God Our Father in this beautiful world. Just like the child in the womb we too are in this world only temporarily. We cannot be in this world for ever as the child in the womb. As the

child in the womb, not able to see the beauty of the world and the parents, so we are in the world. We are not able to see God our Father face to face. It is only through death which is our birth to heaven we can enjoy the eternal bliss and the beatific vision of God our Father. In this way we can understand our resurrection to eternal life. Though it is not a very fitting explanation we can somehow understand. If we are not fully prepared then we need to be in purgatory to be fully purified to enter into eternal life.


In the life of many saints we see their devotion to the souls in purgatory. The Little Flower in the four walls of the convent offered every act of kindness for the souls in purgatory. When we pray and do penance for the souls in purgatory they in turn will help us. A poor catholic lady was used to offer the Holy Mass daily and pray for the souls in

purgatory. She was working in a rich family as a maid. For some reason she was removed from the Job. The next day as usual she went to church, offered the Holy Mass for the souls in purgatory and then went on the street looking for a job. On the way a young man met her and gave her an address of a house and told that the lady in that home is looking for a maid servant. She went with that address to that house and knocked. The house owner an elderly lady opened the door and welcomed her saying that this morning only my servant left and God has sent you to me. Then she explained her job. When she was sweeping the house she saw the photo of the young man she met at the street and who with the address directed her to this house. The maid was so happy and called out to the lady and showed her the photo and said this is the person who directed me to this house. The lady, mother of the young boy in the photo told the maid that it is impossible because this was my son who died four years ago. But the maid said that this morning I prayed for a soul from purgatory to go to heaven. And your son is in heaven through my prayers and he in turn helped me to get this job.

          Yes my dear brothers and sisters let us have devotion to the souls in purgatory. Surely they will help us in our journey to heaven. This way we can live our relationship with them. Though they have gone from this world we are still in communion with them. May the souls of the faithful departed through the Mercy of God rest in Peace, Amen.