My Spring Reading List!

After the heavier reading of Lent, I thought I'd like to continue some inspirational spiritual reading through the Easter season as well. 

Here's my book list!

Private and Pithy lessons from Scripture - Mother Angelica
Little Book of Life Lessons - Mother Angelica
Three to Get Married - Fulton Sheen
The Little Oratory
Diary Sister Faustina
Getting Past Perfect - Kate Wicker
The Words We Pray - Amy Welborn
Perfectly Yourself - Matthew Kelly 
Crossing the Threshold of Hope - Pope John Paul II

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All Saints Day, All Souls Day and the Indulgences

Adobe Spark (3)
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. I do remember little Gabe dressed as St. Patrick, complete with the crosier, and some lady opened the door and said, "It's the Pope!!"

When they got older, I let them decide whether or not to go trick or treating but I don't allow anything demonic or scary - just fun and maybe something from a favorite show or game, or perhaps a historical figure or someone from literature. Last year, Rosie went as Rosie the Riveter because she heard her sister and I discuss the role of civilians on the home front during World War II.

Rosie at the zoo

This year she went as Audrey Hepburn because I've told her several times in the past six months how much she reminds me of that actress in the way she dresses and moves.

Halloween 2017

Today, we celebrate all of the canonized saints of the church for All Saints Day.

 But on November 2, 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 my friends have lost parents, siblings, perhaps children and even spouses.  In her mercy, the church encourages us to pray for the souls of our beloved dead and to remember that living or dead, we are all part of the family of God, a part of the communion of saints.
August 2012 012

I wasn't always that good about praying for the dead. I would remember them during that part of the mass, and probably on their birthdays or date of death if I remembered. But I didn't have a systematic set time for praying for the dead in my life.

My mother was always good at that though, as is my sister. 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 told 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 too 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.

A few years ago,  I had the opportunity to find the grave of my grandparents and my uncle. Their graves were overgrown and looked untended, uncared for and unloved and I felt ashamed. Because I did love them all very deeply. I know my sister and I will always have a special place in our hearts for them. Yet the state of their graves reflected the state of my practice of praying for their souls. I knew that I had to to be more deliberate in praying for their souls.

Calvin and Helen Leckrone marker

Calvin J. Leckrone Jr. marker

That November I made a promise to turn that around and this November I encourage all of you to do the same. In the liturgical year, November month to start since the Catholic Church remembers all of the dearly departed in a special way during this month.

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 and friends, so I keep 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.

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.
From Catholic Culture:

A Plenary Indulgence can be gained only one per day. The faithful must be in the

 state of grace and these three conditions must accompany the prescribed act:
  1. the faithful must receive the sacrament of confession, either eight days before or after the pious act is performed,
  2. receive Holy Communion on that day
  3. and recite prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father (one Our Father and one Hail Mary is the minimum, but any other additional prayers may be added).
4 have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin; — have sacramentally confessed their sins; — receive the Holy Eucharist (it is certainly better to receive it while participating in Holy Mass, but for the indulgence only Holy Communion is required);  pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.

5. It is appropriate, but not necessary, that the sacramental Confession and especially Holy Communion and the prayer for the Pope's intentions take place on the same day that the indulgenced work is performed; but it is sufficient that these sacred rites and prayers be carried out within several days (about 20) before or after the indulgenced act. Prayer for the Pope's intentions is left to the choice of the faithful, but an "Our Father" and a "Hail Mary" are suggested. One sacramental Confession suffices for several plenary indulgences, but a separate Holy Communion and a separate prayer for the Holy Father's intentions are required for each plenary indulgence.
All attachment to sin, even venial sin, must be absent. If one's disposition is less than perfect or if some of the above conditions are not fulfilled, the indulgence becomes partial.

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.

This month, try to visit the grave of a deceased loved one, or if you're not near the graves of any family members, just go to a local cemetery and pray for the dead there.

We used and to find some of my long deceased ancestors and visited their graves

My x3 great grandmother's grave Emeline Klinger

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

We also found the graves of Mr. Pete's grandparents who both died in their 20s yet now have many descendents.
August 2015 008

August 2015 013
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. 

If you have the means, you could also consider having Gregorian Masses said for a special loved one. 

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.

Avoiding purgatory.
Cemetery angel

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