Catholics believe in the existence of Purgatory where one's soul gets purified before one is granted entry into the abode of God. So, we have November, the month dedicated to the prayer for the souls in Purgatory, as well as the special liturgical prayers for the dead . Now, one living person may go on praying for the soul of his/her beloved one who passed away , say before decades. In fact, we have no way of knowing whether the dead person's soul has attained heavenly abode, or not. For that matter, we do not even know the time, which is basically a human standard of truncating infinity, that one soul takes to purify itself in Purgatory. My question, therefore is: According to Catholic Church, how long should a person pray for the soul of his/her dear ones after the death of the latter ?
According to Catholic Church, how long should a person pray for the soul of his/her dear ones after the death of the latter?
The Church does not limit in any way the duration of time that should pray for the souls of our dear one.
I know Catholic faithful who have prayed for their loved ones everyday and have continued to do so for many years.
Part of this simply deals with filial devotion we have with our intimate family members.
We should recall the words of St. Monica to her son St. Augustine when she was dying:
"Bury my body wherever you will; let not care of it cause you any concern. One thing only I ask you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be." - St. Monica
The day was now approaching when my mother Monica would depart from this life; you know that day, Lord, though we did not. She and I happened to be standing by ourselves at a window that overlooked the garden in the courtyard of the house. At the time we were in Ostia on the Tiber. And so the two of us, all alone, were enjoying a very pleasant conversation, "forgetting the past and pushing on to what is ahead.." We were asking one another in the presence of the Truth - for you are the Truth - what it would be like to share the eternal life enjoyed by the saints, which "eye has not seen, nor ear heard, which has not even entered into the heart of man." We desired with all our hearts to drink from the streams of your heavenly fountain, the fountain of life.
That was the substance of our talk, though not the exact words. But you know, O Lord, that in the course of our conversation that day, the world and its pleasures lost all their attraction for us. My mother said, "Son, as far as I am concerned, nothing in this life now gives me any pleasure. I do not know why I am still here, since I have no further hopes in this world. I did have one reason for wanting to live a little longer: to see you become a Catholic Christian before I died. God has lavished his gifts on me in that respect, for I know that you have even renounced earthly happiness to be his servant. So what am I doing here?"
I do not really remember how I answered her. Shortly, within five days or thereabouts, she fell sick with a fever. Then one day during the course of her illness she became unconscious and for a while she was unaware of her surroundings. My brother and I rushed to her side, but she regained consciousness quickly. She looked at us as we stood there and asked in a puzzled voice: "Where was I?"
We were overwhelmed with grief, but she held her gaze steadily upon us, and spoke further: "Here you shall bury your mother." I remained silent as I held back my tears. However, my brother haltingly expressed his hope that she might not die in a strange country but in her own land, since her end would be happier there. When she heard this, her face was filled with anxiety, and she reproached him with a glance because he had entertained such earthly thoughts. Then she looked at me and spoke: "Look what he is saying." Thereupon she said to both of us, "Bury my body wherever you will; let not care of it cause you any concern. One thing only I ask you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be." Once our mother had expressed this desire as best she could, she fell silent as the pain of her illness increased.