Praying for the holy souls in Purgatory is a wonderful devotion any time, but it's especially appropriate this month. Same with offering masses for them*. I have wanted to be more faithful about offering masses for my loved ones' souls; and I've also got a few friends in religious orders here and there, whom I would like to help support in a tangible way. So I had the thought that perhaps I could request mass intentions from the priests of these orders. It's customary to give a stipend of about $5 or 10 for a single mass intention, which in times past helped to provide for the material needs of the priest saying the mass. Nowadays, with diocesan priests, it's not so necessary to their support, but I would think that with any religious order that relies on donations it could be a great help.
I'm looking into it. One of my friends is a Franciscan priest--I think that would be the easiest case. One order is a group of religious brothers--most are not ordained as priests, but they do have a few, so I'm asking about it. I'm not really sure about the religious sisters, though... naturally they do not offer mass; but, as they attend mass daily, I wonder, would it be appropriate (or possible) to request a mass intention from the priest(s) who attend to their spiritual needs? Again, I'll ask...
Here are some additional thoughts about these next few days:
Susan Tassone tells the National Catholic Register how to help the holy souls in Purgatory. (New to me: the Gregorian masses.)
Julie Davis at Happy Catholic had some near, dear thoughts on the mystery of who just might be in Purgatory. (Yes, I've been praying these kinds of prayers with recent events.)
And Julie links to Frank Weathers at Why I Am Catholic, who writes about how Vlad the Impaler was Catholic.
I don't know if it's related, but I've been praying for years for Mozart, whose image in my mind, I am afraid, is unjustly but certainly corrupted by the movie "Amadeus." And because I live in a heavily Protestant area, I frequently wonder at how many die in the friendship of God, and yet must go through this purgation without the aid of anyone, other than the general, collective assistance of the Church Militant.
I think I was thinking of them when I made a heroic act of charity several years ago. At the time it was a great inspiration to me, as I would seek out ways to practice virtue and thus increase my assistance to them. I'm afraid I've grown a little cold; but that must mean it's a perfect time to renew my efforts to grow in love. I can't find the formula I used from Fr. William Faber's Purgatory, but this might be it:
O MY GOD! for Your greater glory, and to imitate as closely as possible the generous Heart of Jesus, my Redeemer, and also to testify my devotion to the Blessed Virgin, my Mother, who is also the Mother of the Souls in Purgatory, I place in her hands all my satisfactory works, as well as the fruit of all those which may be offered for my intention after my death, that she may apply them to the Souls in Purgatory according to her wisdom and good pleasure. Amen.
* But don't forget to offer masses for the living, too! It's even better for them!