We came across a new website based in Ireland focusing on helping the Holy Souls.
It is an association conducting a perpetual novena of masses for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. The association was inspired by the 100 consecutive masses offered for the Holy Souls by the Parish Priest in Knock, prior to the apparition.
Each member undertakes to arrange at least one mass each year for all the Holy Souls, and deceased members. Members can arrange more than one mass if they have the means. It says on their website that the association’s is to reach an average of 100 masses for the Holy Souls every day of the year. What a fantastic idea and act of charity.
We encourage you to check it out at http://www.knocknovena.com
The following is taken from their website showing Padre Pio’s experience of Purgatory.
“I see so many souls from Purgatory that they don’t frighten me any more”
“More souls of the dead than the living climb this mountain to attend my Masses and seek my prayers”
Padre Pio had a very special relationship with the Holy Souls…indeed such was the relationship that they were his frequent visitors….and led him to make the statements quoted above.During Padre Pio’s lifetime many souls would come to him to thank him for his prayers on their behalf. On one such occasion, at evening time after dinner during World War II, shouting was heard by the friars coming from the downstairs entrance hallway. Who could these shouting men be? The friary had been long closed for the day. The men were shouting: Viva Padre Pio (“Long live Padre Pio!”). Brother Gerardo was asked to go and investigate the shouting and eject the intruders but on reaching the hallway he found it in darkness…and empty. He reported the incident to Padre Raffaele, the superior at that time, who in turn asked Padre Pio for an explanation of the extraordinary occurrence. Padre Pio explained that the voices yelling “Viva Padre Pio” were those of deceased soldiers who had come to thank him for his prayers.
Many similar incidences occurred but on each occasion Padre Pio was humble and calm. He knew very well that the important thing is not the extraordinary, but the effects of the extraordinary, which God produces in the soul.
Padre Pio was visited by many famous people during his long lifetime. One of these visitors was the Honourable de Caro, a member of the Italian Parliament, who relates the following story:
One evening in 1943 Padre Pio and De Caro were alone together in deep conversation. Padre Pio spoke of a number of important points of the spiritual life, one of which concerned the souls in Purgatory. It became clear to De Caro that Padre Pio knew the exact state of the souls in Purgatory after death and even the duration of suffering allocated to them by divine goodness for punishment due to offences to God.
When Padre Pio was asked how long a particular soul would stay in purgatory he replied “At least one hundred years. We must pray for the Souls in Purgatory. It is unbelievable what they can do for our spiritual good, out of gratitude they have towards those on earth who remember to pray for them. “
Padre Pio later explained that prayers for the souls in Purgatory are very efficacious in the eyes of God because they are in a state of suffering – a suffering of love for God to whom they aspire and toward their neighbour for whom they pray.
The following short stories regarding Purgatory further reveal to us the true suffering of the Souls in Purgatory and why it is so important that we pray for them.
PADRE PIO AND THE PRIEST IN PURGATORY
One day while in Church Padre Pio observed a priest, , in front of the altar. The priest was Don Giovanni…deceased. The apparitions in the parish church lasted for about one month. On the last occasion, the deceased priest spoke “I’m leaving now, and I won’t come again. How terrible it was and how dearly it costs me to have taken part in the ‘procession’ after Mass, without first making my thanksgiving.”
The deceased Caporaso was an honest and upright man, but without making the necessary thanksgiving after Mass he would go to the bar beside the church as soon as Mass was over and there he would begin the day with his friends with a little daily news. He had been sent to purgatory for not making Thanksgiving after mass.
So for the deceased parish priest, Caporaso, the prayers of Padre Pio were extremely useful, as was his celebration of Mass to free him from Purgatory.
Padre Francesco Napolitano gives us this account:
All the way back in 1928, Padre Pio’s father “Uncle Orazio” often used to come to San Giovanni Rotondo to spend a few days with his son. One evening after the supper recreation Uncle Orazio bade good-night to his son and the other friars and went toward his room to have a good night’s sleep. The room assigned to him was one on the first floor, with the number 10. When he got there, he was surprised to see, standing in front of his room, two friars who wouldn’t let him enter.
In the precise moment he tried to force his way through them, the two friars disappeared. Very shocked and scared at their disappearance, he ran to his son, Padre Pio, to tell him everything. Padre Pio understood immediately. He placed his right arm around his father’s shoulder and with appropriate filial words calmed him down and instilled courage in him.
When he felt that his father had recovered somewhat, he said to him: “Dad, those two friars whom you just saw in front of your room are two poor religious who are in Purgatory. They are making their Purgatory in that place where they broke the rule of Saint Francis. But you must try to calm down and go to sleep with serenity, because they will not cometo upset you any more.”
Perhaps the reader is now inclined to think that it is a common occurrence for a deceased soul to manifest himself to the living; but this is absolutely not the case. A deceased person cannot manifest himself to the living, simply because without help from higher places hehas no power over his material body. “God can miraculously permit the souls of the faithful departed to manifest themselves to the living for a useful end, and principally in order to manifest some truth or other.”
However, as we already know, the souls of the deceased, through the infinite mercy and goodness of God, can and do appear to the living. We have the words of Padre Pio, the saints, and many other people of exceptional character.
One evening, while the friars were at supper in the refectory (this occurred around 1921 or 1922), Padre Pio was praying in the choir loft. Suddenly, he heard a scratching noise coming from the church—from the side altars.
He pricked his ears to be sure that he wasn’t imagining things. Suddenly another noise—the sound of candles and candelabra falling from the high part of the main altar—filled the silence. Padre Pio’s first thought was that it was one of the students going about his business who had caused the candles to fall. To verify this, he leaned over the balcony of the choir loft to have a closer look. How surprised he was to see a young friar, on the epistle side of the altar, motionless.
“What are you doing there?,” Padre Pio asked in a commanding manner. He received no reply. So he continued: “This is a nice way to do your chores! Instead of putting things in order, you break the candles and the candle holders!”
However, the silence of the friar was as that of the tomb. He continued to remain absolutely motionless. So Padre Pio said in a loud, com- manding voice: “You! What are you doing there? ” Then the little friar replied: “I am brother……from……” But Padre Pio insisted: “What are doing there at this hour?”
The little friar replied: “I am doing my Purgatory here. I was a student in this friary, so I now .have to make amends for the errors I committed while I was here, for my lack of diligence in doing my duty in this church.”
Padre Pio said to him: “Well, listen! I will say Mass for you tomorrow, but you mustn’t come here any more.”
With his heart beating faster than usual, Padre Pio left the choir loft and made his way to the communal fireplace, where he found his confreres. They immediately noticed his agitation and asked him the reason; but he avoided their inquiring looks and questions and said only that he felt cold.
Barely ten minutes passed when Padre Pio asked one of the friars to accompany him to the church. There, on the altar, they found candles and candlesticks overturned. Padre Pio wanted to assure himself that he had heard correctly and that his imagination had not played tricks on him. When he spoke of this occurrence later on, he usually concluded with this observation: “For lack of diligence in doing his duty, that friar was still in Purgatory sixty years after his death! Imagine, then, how much longer and how much more difficult will be for those who commit sins which are more serious”
THE PAINS OF PURGATORY
From the revelations of the saints we understand that there are different degrees of pain and suffering in Purgatory. We could have no better guide than that of Mary Magdalen Dei Pazzi. Among all the saints canonised by the Church, she is the one who, after Saint Frances of Rome, has left us the most detailed and the most exact description of Purgatory.
One evening, as she was walking in the garden of the Convent, she was suddenly taken away in spirit and she was heard to say: “Yes, I will walk around it; I will walk around it! ” With these words she consented to her Guardian Angel’s request to visit Purgatory. Once the ecstasy was over, she wrote her account about it.
Mary Magdalen Dei Pazzi witnessed the intensity of the suffering in Purgatory and visited the different places where the souls are imprisoned. There was an abyss filled with tormented Priests and religious, another place which was not so severe held the souls of children and those who were guilty through ignorance. She saw souls being pricked by the points of very sharp needles and almost torn to shreds..these were the souls of those who had tried to please others during their lives and so had been hypocrites. Further on were observed the souls of the impatient and disobedient..they were being crushed under enormous weights. To her horror she witnessed a group of souls having molten lead poured into their mouths while at the same time having their bodies immersed in a pool of ice. These souls, who were burning and freezing at the same time, belonged to those who were liars. The avaricious were being liquefied with lead whilst the souls of the ambitious suffered excruciating pain in darkness. The hard-hearted and ungrateful to God were immersed in a lake of of molten lead as punishment for allowing the source of Grace to remain sterile through their ingratitude. Finally she visited the prison of those who during their lives held no great vices but they suffered also, but to a lesser degree than the others, all the castigation of all those lesser vices which they had.
After two extremely painful hours Mary Magdalen Dei Pazzi returned to herself, physically weak and in a state of moral prostration…..requiring several days to recover.
The body of Saint Mary Magdalen Dei Pazzi remains incorrupt after several hundred years.
Padre Pio relate to us the following story…
One evening Padre Paolino (a friar under the guidance of Padre Pio) was left alone near the fireplace, absorbed, when the door opened and an old man came in, dressed in the traditional mantle commonly worn by the elderly, and he sat beside him. “Who are you? What do you want?” The man answered: “Padre Paolino, I am Pietro di Mauro, nicknamed Precoco. I died in this friary on 18 September 1908, in room number 4, when this Friary was still a home for the elderly. When in bed one night, I fell asleep with my cigar burning. My bed caught fire and I died. I suffocated and burned alive. I am still in Purgatory, and I need a Mass to free my soul from it. God has given me permission to come to you andask for your prayers.” After listening to his story Padre Paolino said “You can rest assured that I will celebrate Mass tomorrow for your liberation. ” Padre Paolino said goodbye to his visitor but he was visibly shaken by the ordeal.
Padre Pio ends the story by saying that the Mass he celebrated the following morning had freed the man’s soul from Purgatory, and that he had then entered the joy of God in Heaven. Padre Paolino later went down to the village and found out that Pietro di Mauro had indeed died on 18 September 1908, burnt alive in his bed.
From all this we can see that Purgatory is a place of mercy and goodness. Never would we have imagined that God is so infinitely merciful and good. It is His tender mercy toward those suffering souls which is a source of astonishment to us. Nowhere have we seen the mercy of God poured out so freely as we have in this case. In that cleansing fire we find the goodness and mercy of God. It would seem that the soul asks God: “Can I make amends?,” and God replies: “Yes. You are now entering the novitiate of Heaven; you must suffer now and expiate your sins. Thereby you will be made pure and worthy to enter My Kingdom.”
Then the soul accepts its Purgatory with gratitude and it rejoices in the goodness of God, a goodness which sends it to a place of purification. Purgatory is a place of redemption where souls gather on the brink of the abyss. It is the last place of refuge an invention of merciful love.
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Brother Modestino of Pietrelcina spent a number of years close to Padre Pio, and as a result is a devoted follower of his. He told us the following story: “In 1945 I was at San Giovanni Rotondo to assist and stay at Padre Pio’s side. I also wanted to take advantage of the words of wisdom which issued from his lips and lock them in my heart for my spiritual good. One evening, Padre Pio was on his way out of the choir loft after evening Benediction, and I was with him in the corridor which leads to his room. The question that came from my lips was spontaneous:
‘Father, what have you to say about the fires of Purgatory? ‘ And he answered: ‘If the Lord were to give permission to the soul to pass from that fire to the greatest fire on earth, it would be like passing from hot water to cool water.’ These were Padre Pio’s exact words to me.”
On another occasion, C. Birulli of Cerignola asked him: “Father, give me some idea of Purgatory.” He replied: “My daughter, the souls in Purgatory would like to throw themselves into a well of our earthly fire, because for them it would be like a well of cool water.”
Unfortunately we are obliged to conclude that we do not sufficiently think of the rigours of Purgatory. If we meditated a little more on this fact, we should surely avoid at least those small errors to which we pay little or no account, and we would pray more earnestly for those unfortunate souls whom we could so easily help during our daily lives.
It is our goal to reach an average of 100 Masses for the holy souls each and every day of the year