Writing a letter to your confirmation candidate

It seems that one of the biggest events in confirmation preparation in this country is the letters of support to be given to the confirmation candidates during their mandatory retreats.

I have three such letters saved on this blog:

Confirmation letter to my daughterConfirmation letter to my fourth sonConfirmation letter to to my third son
I've asked my children what they remember about the letter they got from me and their dad, and also what they remembered about the letters they received. 
The answer was not much, or at least nothing specific. In general they were happy to have gotten a bag full of letters and there was a sense of feeling loved and supported. I guess that's the main thing - for them to have a sense that this is an important step in their spiritual growth, and that people they know, love and respect have taken the time out of their lives to let them know that! So here are some tips on procuring and writing letters for young confirmation candidates. Start thinkin…

Month of November - praying for the dead

This is a re-publication of posts from previous years.


A few years ago I had the opportunity to find the grave of my grandparents and my uncle. I had been there before, but I always forget exactly where they are buried. We found them. Their graves were overgrown and looked untended, uncared for and unloved. That wasn't true of course. They were still loved deeply. I know my sister and I will always have a special place in our hearts for them. Yet my practice of praying for their souls was a lot like their graves had become, untended, and uncared for.

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That November I made a promise to turn that around. November is a perfect time to do that as it is the month when the Catholic Church remembers all of the dearly departed. I take the pictures of all of my beloved dead relatives and friends, and put them in a prominent place so that we remember to pray for them every day during the month. I talk to the children about each one and remind them of the importance of prayer for the deceased.

That  November I found a wonderful book (that I intend to review later) called Father Phillip Tells a Ghost Story (Padre Phillip Hoce Un Cuento de Fantasmas): A Story of Divine Mercy (Un Cuento de La Divina Misericordia) It's perfect for this time of year with a very "Halloween" type of feel to it, but it puts "ghosts" into their proper perspective in regard to purgatory. After reading this with my children, I was able to better explain what a poor soul in purgatory is, and how to offer up our little pains and sufferings, in a way that they could better understand.

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The Catholic Culture Site reminds us that we may earn indulgences for the souls in purgatory.


Praying for the Dead and Gaining Indulgences During November




Indulgenced Acts for the Poor Souls
A partial indulgence can be obtained by devoutly visiting a cemetery and praying for the departed, even if the prayer is only mental. One can gain a plenary indulgence visiting a cemetery each day between November 1 and November 8. These indulgences are applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory.


A plenary indulgence, again applicable only the Souls in Purgatory, is also granted when the faithful piously visit a church or a public oratory on November 2. In visiting the church or oratory, it is required, that one Our Father and the Creed be recited.


A partial indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, can be obtained when the Eternal Rest (Requiem aeternam) is prayed. This is a good prayer to recite especially during the month of November:


Requiem aeternam dona ei (eis), Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei (eis). Requiescat (-ant) in pace Amen.
Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.


Many families add to the "Prayer Before Meals" the second half of the "Eternal Rest" prayer:
Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts,
Which we are about to receive,
from Thy bounty,
through Christ, our Lord, Amen.
And may the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God,
rest in peace. Amen.
Other families recite the "Eternal Rest" prayer in between decades of the rosary.


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From time to time, I'll get a thought in my mind of someone I use to know, who is now departed. Maybe the kid's old piano teacher, or Mr. Wolverton who use to drive us kids to band, or Uncle Harry, who really wasn't my uncle at all, but a nice friend of my grandfather's who put up with the shows my sister and I use to put on way to often. I think maybe that's a sign that I need to pray for them, or they can use those prayers for someone else. I try to say a quick prayer then.



Resources for remembering the poor souls in purgatory during the month of November.


Catholic Culture


Prayer for the poor souls in purgatory.


St. John Vianney on Purgatory.(St. John is the special Patron during this year of the priest!)


Simple prayer for the poor souls that you probably didn't learn in Catholic School.

Father Hardon on Purgatory.


Explaining purgatory to kids.

Explaining purgatory to nonCatholics.

Avoiding purgatory.

Way of the cross for the poor souls in purgatory.

Thirty-Day Devotions For The Holy Souls



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