Purgatory is a transition

Friends in Christ, today is All soul’s Day. It is the day that we especially pray for those who have died.
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Praying for the dead goes back to the very beginning of the Catholic faith. What were the early Christians doing in the catacombs? Well, the catacombs were cemeteries. So they would gather there around the tombs of loved ones and offer Mass. That’s what they were doing there. It what we are doing today.
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We read in the book of Macabees, that praying for the dead is ‘a good and noble thing.’ Praying for the dead is in scripture and was the belief of early Christians, and the Jews as well. When we make a big transition in life it is not always easy. Going to school for the first time, going away to college; these changes can be difficult. In each transition we must leave some things behind.
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I watched in the seminary, at how my friends and myself, had to accept leaving some things behind.  Also, going away to college, my niece became very homesick,  it was a difficult transition for her.
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When a man or woman gets married, there is an adjustment period. They realize they have left some things behind. This is part of life. It is part of growing, but it isn’t easy, so we pray for our loved ones who are going through difficult changes in their life.
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The change from this life to the next also represents a transition, and the leaving behind of attachments. So we pray for those who are going through this change which we call purgatory. Those who have been preparing well for the next life, living the gospel, loving others, doing all for the Lord – for them the change is easy, they have few earthly attachments, and they’ll soon be in heaven.
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But for most of us, we are not perfect, and we will need to go through some purification, before we enter heaven. So when those we love are going through this purification we pray for them. And they will thank us very much, and be grateful when we see them.
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This week, the Church offers two ways to gain a Plenary Indulgence for a person in Purgatory. Visit a Church on All Souls Day, and pray the Our Father and the Creed. Also, this week, visit a cemetery and pray any prayer you want for the dead. This week, you can get a plenary indulgence every day that you visit a cemetery. Of course, like any plenary indulgence, we must received Holy Communion, and confess our sins within 8 days. 
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Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and may Perpetual Light shine upon them. May they rest in peace.

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