My Lent 2019 Book List Plans

Is this the year you really want to dive into Lent? Do you want to come out of this Lenten Season and truly feel that you've had a small share of living in the desert with Christ for 40 days? I know that I do. Maybe it's an upcoming birthday that's making me have more of a now-or-never type of attitude towards Lent. Or maybe I just acutely feel the necessity of truly modeling this for my children, and living it with my husband. Whatever it is, these are the books and resources I'm going to use this Lent to really LIVE the season from Ash Wednesday all the way through to Easter Vigil. Look them over. If something looks helpful to you, use it. If it inspires you, go with it. I hope all of these bless and encourage you.

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All Souls Day

Last weekend was about getting dressed up in costumes, going trick or treating for Halloween, and then celebrating  All Saints Day Parties. Some parents were industrious enough to have two costumes for their children: one for trick or treating, and one for All Saints Day.  I used to make my kids wear their saints costumes for trick or treating and that in itself was very time consuming.

Now that they are older, I let them decide and if they do go trick or treating but I don't allow anything demonic or scary - just fun and maybe something from a favorite show or game.

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We would have done an All Saints Day Party this year too, but my granddaughter's second birthday party was the same day - and as she is a little saint in the making, that took priority for us this year.

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 But today, the church focuses on the rest of communion of saints - the unknown saints, but more particularly, the saint wannabees, the poor souls, the souls in purgatory.

I am a point in life where I know quite a significant number of people who had died. Many of them I had loved very much in this life and I looked forward to seeing them again. The idea that the church encourages us to pray for the souls of our beloved dead finally took deep root in my system and in my prayer life.

Up until 13 years ago, I was pretty bad about praying for the dead. Too busy living I guess. When my baby Raphael died it was a real reminder that this time on earth is fleeting, and that as  Catholic/Christians we were all part of that great communion of saints.


 It was that belief that all of our souls, even the soul of my precious little unborn baby, were all part of God's big plan, and that someday I would be able to see my baby, and hold him and talk to him, that got me through that time.  I  experienced this even more so after the death of my mother in 2009.

In the meantime, it gave me comfort to know that my little one was not alone! There was family in the next life. My beloved grandparents and uncle were already there as were my in-laws, a beloved family friend and many others. Through God's divine mercy, the all could be together and happy throughout eternity.

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I've mentioned before that I found myself spending many hours in the cemetery at my baby's grave thinking about these things. (You know you're spending a lot of time at the cemetery when you are on waving terms with the cemetery workers!) I found that I loved to pray there in baby land. Theologically it must be one of the holiest places in the cemetery with all of the relics of all these little saints and the company of all the angels commended there to protect them.

A few years later 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.

Calvin and Helen Leckrone marker

Calvin J. Leckrone Jr. marker

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.

In past years, I have taken 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.
November - Remembering our beloved dead

Now, I have a lot of deceased relatives, so this year I have all of their holy cards from their funerals in a basket and I have that on the table so that we can remember all of them at each meal.

A few years back I found a wonderful book called Father Phillip Tells a Ghost Story : A Story of Divine Mercy It's ideal 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.

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.

My x3 great grandmother's grave Emeline Klinger

At the grave of my great, great -grandmother Emmeline Klinger

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Finding Mr. Pete's Grandparents - something he never had the chance to do before.  They died when they were very young.  It was a touching experience to find their graves and clean them up a bit. 

When I was in high school, two boys who tormented my sister and me mercilessly died in a terrible car accident. My sister would always remember them during the part of the mass where we remember the dead.  It was part of her mental routine during mass. Sis tells me that one day at mass, over 30 years later,  she got a strong sense that she no longer had to pray for them - that they had finally been perfected for heaven.

From time to time, I'll get a thought in my mind of someone I used 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.

This year I have it on my mind to pray for the soul of Mercy Atkinson

Marcy Atkinson Parsons
My 7th great grandmother.

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As the beauty of fall begins to fade and we get ready for advent and Christmas, this month becomes one of preparation, not just for those holidays, but preparing us for the home we will eventually have at sometime after this life.

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

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

Rosary from Father Lovasick for the poor souls

Father Hardon on Purgatory.

Purgatory Pay now or Pay Later

Explaining purgatory to kids.

Explaining purgatory to nonCatholics.

Avoiding purgatory.
Cemetery angel
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