Month of November is dedicated to the deceased faithful. One of the Mass Intentions of Catholic Church for the month is to pray for those souls who have no one praying for them. That implies that those who die without relatives or friends to pray for them post- death, are in a disadvantageous position vis- a-vis those who have many. My question is: According to Catholic Church, how does God compensate those who die without relatives or friends to pray for their souls ?

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    How could any person who dies faithful be disadvantaged... by anything? Paul knew that he had run his course faithfully to the virtual end, and that a crown of righteousness was laid up for him, which the Lord would give him "and not to me only but unto all them also that love his appearing." 2 Tim.4:8 He also said that nothing in all creation could separate Christians from the love of Christ (Rom.8:34-39) as Christ interceded for them. I hope a Catholic answer will take those scripture verses into consideration.
    – Anne
    Commented Nov 25, 2023 at 16:45

1 Answer 1


The Church offers Requiem Masses for all the souls of the faithful departed.

Those on earth do not know with certainty whether one is in hell, purgatory, or heaven—unless the Church has canonized the faithfully departed as a saint, in which case one is certain he or she is in heaven. Thus, Catholics pray for departed souls in the case they might be in purgatory:

The Council of Trent:

…the Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Ghost, has, from the Sacred Writings and the ancient tradition of the Fathers, taught, in sacred Councils, and very recently in this œcumenical Synod, that there is a Purgatory, and that the souls there detained are helped by the suffrages [intercessions] of the faithful, but principally by the acceptable sacrifice of the altar

Also, St. Thomas Aquinas writes in Summa Theologica suppl. q. 71 a. 5 ad 3 (= Super Sent. lib. 4 d. 45 q. 2 a. 2 qc. 1 ad 3):

Suffrage for a dead person is more acceptable than for a living person, as regards his being in greater want, since he cannot help himself as a living person can.

magis acceptatur suffragium pro mortuo quam pro vivo, quia magis indiget, cum non possit auxiliari sibi, sicut vivus potest

Holy Mass and the prayers of the faithful help shorten the holy souls' time and sufferings in purgatory.

source: this answer to "According to Catholicism, what is the purpose of praying for the dead?" and this answer to "What is the merit of praying for the souls of the faithful in purgatory compared to for the living?"

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