Prayers for Souls

Joseph Pronechen recommends Prayers, Promises and Devotions for the Holy Souls in Purgatory by Susan Tassone.


By Susan Tassone

192 pages, $ 9.95

Our Sunday Visitor, 2012

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The Church remembers all the faithful departed in November, the month dedicated to the holy souls.

What better time to recall the necessity of praying for the holy souls in purgatory, those who died in God’s grace but are not yet totally free of the temporal punishment due their sins?

Author Susan Tassone has written four books on the subject already. Now, Prayers, Promises and Devotions for the Holy Souls in Purgatory offers new prayers and new incentives for helping souls get to heaven. The book, which has an imprimatur, makes clear the special relationship we have with the holy souls and they with us.

There’s no doubt Tassone knows her subject. She is a nationally recognized expert on purgatory. Tassone was granted two private audiences with Blessed John Paul II, who gave a special blessing to her and her ministry.

Tassone has a knack for finding extraordinary facts and prayers. She brings together the old and the new, like a new novena with daily meditations on the mystery of purgatory taken from the Catechism. Another new novena focuses on John Paul II’s reflections on purgatory.

The reader is also offered moving stories of saints like Gertrude the Great, who was dedicated to rescuing souls in purgatory. What Our Lord told St. Gertrude about her efforts when he appeared to her is eye-opening.

So is the dramatic story of why Pope St. Gregory the Great instituted 30 days of Masses for one soul, which came to be known as Gregorian Masses. Tassone suggests, "Why not adopt a priest or a religious and have Gregorian Masses said for them? Consider, especially, the deceased priest who baptized you, the bishop who confirmed you, the priest at whose Masses you assisted, the priest who first gave you holy Communion, or a priest who absolved you from your sins."

Throughout, she offers plenty of explanations, such as: "Purgatory is like the hospital of God, and human help is God’s ministering angel bringing the good news of a quicker return home for the soul. It is a partnership in the riches and merits of Christ."

Little-known quotes from saints like Thomas Aquinas, Alphonsus Liguori, Ignatius of Loyola, Bridget of Sweden and Faustina Kowalska are included as well. St. Francis de Sales compares praying for the holy souls in purgatory to doing the works of mercy and living the Beatitudes.

Prayers are included for various conditions, specific relatives and situations, too. One chapter presents prayers to Mary, Queen of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, because souls receive their greatest consolation from the Mother of God. Another section looks to St. Joseph. In addition, there are prayers for family and friends to say by the side of the dying.

As Tassone tells readers: "Nothing gives God more glory, or brings him greater joy, than when we remember those who have gone before us."

Joseph Pronechen is the

Register’s staff writer.