An Irish nun from St. Albert the Great school in Dearborn, Mich. once told our second grade class that if we said 10 Our Father’s, 10 Hail Mary’s, and 10 Glory Be’s, we would release someone from Purgatory. I imagined how happy I had just made someone whenever I completed the 3 decades of prayer.
I don’t know if she was theologically correct, but the Church does teach that those on earth can pray for the souls in purgatory. Once our life is over, we cannot pray for ourselves. However, God in his mercy, allows us to hasten the entry into heaven of souls in purgatory.
Whenever I write on this topic, inevitably someone argues that there is no Purgatory. The Bible indicates that there is. Both the Old and New Testament are full of clear references about Purgatory. So if you are inclined to argue this or simply want to learn more, read The Biblical Basis for Purgatory.
In the book, Forty Dreams of St. John Bosco, St. Bosco visited Purgatory and learned that whenever we pray for souls there, they can see us. It’s a nice thought. The Church teaches that although they cannot pray for themselves, people in Purgatory can pray for others. Imagine also the joy of one day meeting a crowd of souls in heaven who were helped there by our prayers.
We can all use more prayers. One day it could be us undergoing the suffering of purification because nothing impure can enter Heaven (Rev. 21:27). At such a time, we will yearn for the prayers to relieve our suffering and shorten our wait.
I recently joined The Releasers. It’s inspiration to help souls waiting to be freed from suffering. They will become our eternal friends with power in heaven to help us in ways we never dreamed of.
Here is how to join The Releasers:
1) Pray the St. Gertrude prayer as often as you can everyday.
"Eternal Father, I offer You the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus Christ, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, those in the Universal Church, in my home, and in my family."
St. Gertrude showed "tender sympathy towards the souls in purgatory" and urged prayers for them. Our Lord showed St. Gertrude a vast number of souls leaving Purgatory and going to Heaven as a result of this prayer, which the Saint was accustomed to say frequently during the day. (Taken from the booklet Read Me or Rue It by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan.)
2) Offer sacrifices or add to your intentions of the Mass or the Rosary for the RELEASE of all the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
3) Sign up to officially join The Releasers .
Becoming a Releaser reminds to me to pray for those in Purgatory. I need reminders. I need inspiration. I need prayers. Done.
For more inspiration, check out Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories From Everyday Families. Your children will laugh while learning big spiritual lessons with Dear God, I Don't Get It! and Dear God, You Can't Be Serious.