The beginning of November marks the time that we celebrate All Saints’ Day, in which we commemorate those men and women who have persevered in their faith and have entered the Heavenly Kingdom, and All Souls Day, when we pray for those souls who died in a state of grace and need purification in Purgatory before entering the Gates of Heaven.
The Catholic Church has three realms: The Church Militant, which exists on earth and comprises those who are currently living as part of the Catholic Church; The Church Suffering which comprises all those souls who are in Purgatory; and The Church Triumphant which includes all the saints in Heaven. The Body of Christ transcends both time and space, thus prayer and sacrifices can always be applied to the living and the dead.
Since the souls in Purgatory can’t pray for themselves, it is our duty and responsibility to offer up various prayers and sacrifices to help them atone for the temporal punishments due to their sins. We are always reminded of this when we offer the sacrifice of the Holy Mass for our loved ones, especially on All Souls’ Day. Any sacrifice we offer, such as fasting, prayer and almsgiving can also be applied as atonement for those poor souls who suffer the pain of sense and loss being separated from the beautiful face of God. Once these souls are released from Purgatory into the glory of heaven they become some of our greatest advocates in thanksgiving for our sacrifices. As saints in Heaven they also intercede on our behalf now as well as for those poor souls in Purgatory.