November 12, 2017

Purple on All Souls Day: I had a few questions about why I wore purple on All Souls Day (one even from a priest). Often this celebration, like a funeral liturgy, is celebrated wearing white. As you know, the use of colored vestments conveys a significant meaning in the liturgical celebration. White, when used for funerals, symbolizes the resurrection of our Lord, when He triumphed over sin and death, sorrow and darkness. It also denotes rejoicing and purity of the soul−thus the reason All Saints Mass was celebrated in white. Purple, however, is a sign of preparation. Thus, as we offered the All Souls Mass for those preparing/purifying themselves for entry into heaven, I chose the liturgical color of purple. This is based upon the understanding that the Mass was offered for those souls in purgatory.

The Reality of Purgatory: The custom of praying for the dead is rooted in the very nature of heaven. Revelation 21:27 states, “nothing unclean will enter it.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven (1030). They do this in purgatory. The Church identifies the souls in purgatory as “our brethren … who having died are still being purified” (Lumen Gentium, No. 51). They continue to be important members of the Church, of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ according to the belief in the communion of saints. We are able to assist the faithful departed by our prayers, just as they can also help us by their prayers (CCC 958). The Catholic Church has taught this for centuries. We commend the souls in purgatory to God’s mercy and pray for them.

November is dedicated to prayer for the Holy Souls in Purgatory; let us remember to keep them in our prayers out of love. Let us remember that prayers can be extremely powerful in assisting the souls of our loved ones in their journey to attaining eternal life and peace. Be mindful as well that we can help them by also by offering a Mass in their name, by giving alms, by indulgences or other works of penance done for their benefit (CCC 1032). A partial indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, can be obtained when the Eternal Rest (Requiem aeternam) is prayed.

For more information I recommend researching Catholic Activity: Praying for the Dead and Gaining Indulgences During November. Information for this article was taken from’s Praying for the Souls of the Dead: A Catholic Tradition by Nada Mazzei • October 24, AD2016.

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