The Rosary for the Holy Souls in purgatory

by Susan Tassone

Our Sunday Visitor, 2002

160 pages, $6.95

To order: (800) 348-2440

www. osvpublishing. com

Since my father's death in March 2001, my use of the rosary has been sporadic at best. I have simply found it too emotionally painful to pray in a way that, for some reason, causes me to think about my loss for such an extended period of time. Then, too, it's difficult for me to move the beads between my fingers because I've got spastic cerebral palsy.

Well, I am happy to report that Susan Tassone's new book has got me back to the mysteries of the rosary in a major way.

For me, The Rosary for the Holy Souls in Purgatory makes the rosary routine much more than a dry ritual. That's because, even before I came upon this book, I had a special intention in mind to pray with Mary for holy souls like my dad and two of my brothers who have gone before me marked with the sign of faith.

The Scripture-based text makes the book an excellent tool for keeping the mind (and heart) focused on the mysteries. It also serves as an apologetical buffer against those who say Catholics don't know the Bible. As Chicago Cardinal Francis George writes in the book's foreword: “The Rosary takes us on a j 'tour’ of the Old and New Testaments, giving us the opportunity to call to mind the events that j shaped the earthy life of Jesus and His mother as well as those events that gave birth to the Church and changing the course of human history. These are the mysteries of the Catholic faith to which Holy Scripture gives written witness.”

Tassone builds on that theme in her introduction. “Among private prayer and devotion,” she writes, “the Rosary is the greatest and most powerful form of mental and vocal prayer to assist the holy souls in purgatory to attain heaven.”

How often Pope John Paul II has reminded the faithful to pray this devotion in order that the Church suffering might build up the Church triumphant. What an awesome thought!

We all have relatives who have gone before us in death. Taking 20 to 25 minutes a day to pray for the holy souls not only helps them complete their journey to the Father in heaven, but it also helps us learn about his love, his justice and his mercy.

One point Tassone articulates has stuck with me with special power: The individuals we help get to heaven becomes advocates for us. In other words, we help them get to heaven and they help us to join them there. This truth should encourage all of us.

St. Paul reminds us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Tassone's book shines the bright light of Marian hope upon that daunting and inescapable fact. It helped to shake me out of my “rosary resistance” — and I'm sure it can do the same for you.

Bill Zalot writes from Levittown, Pennsylvania.