DEAR FATHER | Purgatory is a purifying process that draws us closer to heaven

One image of purgatory that was presented during my time in the seminary has stuck in my mind due to its vibrant, fearful image. In it, Mary is pictured with a scapular fishing souls out of purgatory, which is depicted as a sea of fire tormenting those occupying it. Needless to say, such an image wouldn't inspire anyone to want to go there.

While no one wants to go there, purgatory remains a truth that we can't escape. Popularly speaking, God is often viewed as too good to permit anyone to go to hell, let alone purgatory. This thought is only partially true, though.

Church teaching about purgatory, funeral rites and the rising of the dead

A word (or two) about purgatory

What is purgatory?

The state of purgatory can be likened to that of a time of cleansing, or purification, before experiencing eternal life in heaven.

The Catholic Church teaches that purgatory is a time of purification for those who "die in God's grace and friendship."

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1030-32), "after death (the faithful) undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven."

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Intercessory prayer needed for the faithful in Purgatory

On Sunday, Nov. 2, we commemorate the souls of all the faithful departed.

Jesus sets the tone for the celebration when He tells us, "All that the Father gives me shall come to me; no one who comes will I ever reject. ... It is the will of Him who sent me that I should lose nothing of what He has given me; rather, that I should raise it up on the last day."

Dear Father | Asking, not worshiping, the key to prayer to saints

Why do we Catholics pray to the saints?

Your question is timely, as we're about to observe the annual festival of the Heavenly Jerusalem, the great Feast of All Saints, on Nov. 1. To answer your question, I would like to make these points:

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