The commemoration of all the deceased faithful, wherein devout Mother Church--having just encouraged the fitting celebration of all her children rejoicing in heaven-- busies herself interceding before God for all souls who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith and who sleep in the hope of resurrection, and also for all those from the beginning of the world whose faith is known to God alone, that, purged of the contagion of sin, they may merit to enjoy the eternal beatific vision.For the first time in my priesthood, I celebrated today all three Masses of All Souls, according to the privilege granted to all priests by the bull Incruentum altaris of Benedict XVI. The first, concelebrating at the regular conventual Mass, I offered for the deceased of my family. The second and third I offered alone (according to the directions of Fr. McNamara, whom I tend to trust on liturgical questions) for all the faithful departed and for the intention of the Holy Father, as is prescribed. (I still feel scruples about celebrating Mass alone, and wonder if simply desiring to offer the sacrifice is a 'just and reasonable cause,' but priests seem to do it. It's not something I do often.)
All of these things--prayers for the dead, Masses offered for them--speak to me of hope and of a merciful God. A God whose desire for our salvation goes beyond the limits of our earthly life, providing even a means to be purified of our sins after our bodily death. That means we call purgatory, without affirming much else about it.
May all the faithful departed, as well as all the holy souls from the beginning of time whose faith is known to God alone, by his mercy, rest in peace. Amen.