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Catholic Activities: Purgatory Release Project
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Purgatory Release Project (PRP) is an ongoing effort by users of
this site to assist the pour souls in Purgatory. The goal is to
help release as many souls as possible from Purgatory.
it is true that the souls in Purgatory are assured of heaven,
they are presently suffering dreadful torments. They are unable
to assist themselves and they are unable to ask you for
there is also an unfortunate "instant canonization" of
relatives and friends that may leave the poor souls without relief
from those remaining on earth. Those who assume their loved ones
are in heaven may leave them unassisted in their torments.
Remember that even the holiest persons may suffer terribly in
Purgatory for so-called 'slight' faults.
also that you have a duty of charity not just towards the living, but
towards your brothers and sisters who have departed this earth.
Just as you would aid someone on earth who was suffering, so should you assist those in Purgatory who suffer
terribly and who may have no one else to assist them.
purgatorial fire itself will be more difficult than any
punishments that can be seen or imagined or felt in this
life." (St. Caesar of Arles, c. 540 A.D.)
pain of Purgatory, both of loss and of sense, surpasses all the
pains of this life." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the
Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the
is a crucible where the dross of sin is burnt away, until every
debt is cancelled. When its flames have effaced every stain and
every wrinkle that marred the soul's beauty, then she flees away
to her Spouse, truly a blessed one and sure of offering no
obstacle to the complacent love of her Lord. Yet to what a sad
length her exile is prolonged! True, she is united by charity to
the inhabitants of heaven: but the fire
which torments her is of the same nature as that of hell"
we do not know which specific souls are in Purgatory, it is very
possible that some of your friends and relatives are among the
poor souls. Even persons who passed away long ago may still
remain in Purgatory. It has been said seven years of
penance is due for each mortal
sin committed during one's life. It is good to assume that any particular
loved one - no matter how good they appeared to you in life -
may be in Purgatory.
will be in Purgatory until the end of the world." (Our Lady
of Fatima to Sister Lucy, in response to whether or not
Lucy's young friend was in heaven)
you assign, on the average, as St. Frances of Rome says, seven
years for the expiation of one mortal sin, remitted as to the
guilt, who does not see that we arrive at an appalling duration
[in Purgatory] and that the expiation may
especially be prolonged for many years, and even for centuries?
Years and centuries of torments! Oh! if we only thought
of it, with what care should we not avoid the least faults! with
what fervor should we not practice penance to make satisfaction
in this world!" (Fr. Schouppe)
to the holy Doctors, for every mortal sin
a man is obliged by God to seven years of penance in this world,
or the equivalent in purgatory; the reason being that
every mortal sin is an offense against the seven Gifts of the
Holy Ghost." (St. Vincent Ferrer)
is no doubt that the pains of Purgatory are not limited to ten and
twenty years, and that they last in some cases entire centuries.
But allowing to be true that their duration did not exceed ten or
twenty years, can we account it as nothing to have to endure for
ten or twenty years the most excruciating sufferings without the
least alleviation? If a man was assured that he should suffer some
violent pain in his feet, or his head, or teeth for the space of
twenty years, and that without ever sleeping or taking the least
repose, would he not a thousand times rather die than live in such
a state? And if the choice were given to him between a life thus
miserable and the loss of all his temporal goods, would he
hesitate to make the sacrifice of his fortune to be delivered from
such a torment? Shall we then find any difficulty in embracing
labor and penance to free ourselves from the sufferings of
Purgatory? Shall we fear to practice the most painful exercises:
vigils, fasts, almsgiving, long prayers, and especially
contrition, accompanied with signs and tears?" (St.
Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church)
you must believe in Purgatory. Purgatory has been divinely
revealed and has always been a dogma of the faith.
For more information on Purgatory, try the Catholic
Basics section of this site.
unclean can enter heaven" (cf. Rev. 21:27), the souls of
the elect must be purified before they can enjoy the Beatific
Vision. Divine justice also requires expiation for sins,
since "no sin goes unpunished" (cf. Sirach 7:8).
justice is undying." (Wisdom 1:15)
you will not be released until you have paid the last
penny." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 5:26, Lk.12:59)
anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious
stones, wood, hay, or straw, the work of each will come to
light, for the Day will disclose it. It will be revealed with
fire, and the fire (itself) will test the quality of each one's
work. If the work stands that someone built upon the foundation,
that person will receive a wage. But if someone's work is burned
up, that one will suffer loss; the
person will be saved, but only as through fire."
(St. Peter, 1 Cor. 3:12-15, emphasis added)
slight penances now given by priests during Confession are
generally believed not to remit all purgatory time.
During the ages of great faith, the Church used to give much
more difficult penances to sinners. As a result of weakened
faith, the Church has curtailed the use of more difficult
penances in order not to discourage penitent sinners. The duty
of expiating one's sins, however, still remains. Remember that
there is a difference between receiving forgiveness of sins -
which one does receive by the priest's absolution in
Confession - and satisfying Divine Justice for sins committed.
To put it in earthly terms, if someone vandalized your property,
you may forgive the person yet still require the vandal to pay
for the damage. Similarly, although God forgives an absolved
sin, Divine Justice must still be satisfied.
you are somehow fortunate enough to only associate with and be
born into a long line of saints, perhaps you have no loved ones
in Purgatory. If that is not the case, however, at least some of
your loved ones are likely to be in Purgatory. In any event, you
have a Christian obligation - to the best of your ability - to
assist all your brothers and sisters, even if you are not
related to them by blood.
assist the souls in Purgatory is to perform the most excellent of
the works of mercy, or rather it is to practice in a sublime
manner all the works of mercy together: it is to visit the sick;
it is to give drink to those who thirst for the vision of God; it
is to feed the hungry, to ransom prisoners, to clothe the naked,
to procure for poor exiles the hospitality of the Heavenly
Jerusalem; it is to comfort the afflicted, to instruct the
ignorant - in fine, to practice all works of mercy in one."
(St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)
you pray for the poor souls, God applies the merits of your
prayers towards those in Purgatory. The relief from prayers
to the poor souls has been compared to the pouring of water on
someone on fire. While prayers and partial indulgences may provide a
measure of relief to the poor souls, a Plenary Indulgence makes it possible for a
soul to be released immediately from Purgatory and enter heaven.
The poor souls will always be grateful for your efforts on their
behalf and will become your faithful friends for all
eternity. Note: Click
here for information on indulgences.
doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch
as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were
not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been
useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did
this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who
had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus
he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from
this sin." (2 Macc. 12:43-46)
of the easiest, yet one of the most powerful, means to procure
relief for the souls in Purgatory is to say the beads [the Holy
Rosary] for them
with fervor. To say the Rosary for the souls in Purgatory is to
offer up to God for their relief all the labors, fatigues,
prayers, tears, contempt, sufferings, blood, and death - all the
merits of the life of our dear Savior. Next to Mass, no more
efficacious offering can be made to God then this for the relief
of the souls in Purgatory." (Muller)
addition to prayers and indulgences, you may apply the merits of
your good works and almsgiving to the poor souls, as well as
offering up your sufferings on their behalf. Best of all, you
may have Masses offered for those in Purgatory.
Remember that nothing can be better than the application
of Holy Masses to the souls in Purgatory.
you can pray and offer other assistance to the poor souls on
your own, you are encouraged to also join the PRP effort of this
site for various reasons, including:
Participation in the PRP may encourage you to offer even more
assistance to the poor souls.
Using the PRP form may help you remember your commitment to pray
for the poor souls.
Your efforts may be united with those of others participating in
Your participation can help ensure the success of the PRP
project, and - since you can report your efforts to us each year
- your works may help encourage others to join in the PRP
below for participation instructions.
participate in the Purgatory Release Project:
here and print the Purgatory Release Project (PRP)
Worksheet. (Note: set margins to .25", all directions.)
Complete the worksheet according to the instructions. Note that
this form may serve as a reminder of your goal and may
(optionally) be used to notify us of your participation so that
we may add your efforts to our tally.
Use the worksheet to help you meet your goals.
that if you want to be included in the Purgatory Release Project
annual tally, submit your form each year no later than 11/7 according to the
instructions provided (see form for instructions).
you for your participation!
aeternam dona eis Domine; et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Requiescant in pace. Amen. (Eternal rest grant unto them, O
Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in
peace. Amen.) [Latin/English]
here to print a new Purgatory Release Project (PRP)
Worksheet. (Note: set margins to .25", all
you for your continued participation!
a cruelty. A sick man weeps on his bed and his friend consoles
him; a baby cries in his cradle, and his mother at once caresses
him; a beggar knocks at the door for an alms, and receives it; a
malefactor laments in his prison, and comfort is given him; even a
dog that whines the door is taken in; but these poor, helpless
souls cry day and night from the depths of the fire in Purgatory:
'Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, at least you, my friends,
because the hand of the Lord hath smitten me' - and there is no
one to listen!" (Muller)
Indulgences under every form are continually coming in our way.
Let us make use of our treasures, and exercise mercy towards the
poor suffering souls. Is any condition more pitiable than theirs?
So great is their anguish, that no distress on earth can approach
to it... All heaven cannot help them, for there is no merit to be
gained there. God Himself, though most merciful, owes it to His
justice not to deliver them until they have paid the whole debt
that they carried with them beyond the world of trial. The debt
was contracted perhaps through our fault, and in our company; and
it is to us they turn for help, to us who are still dreaming of
nothing but pleasure, while they are burning, and we could so
easily shorten their torments! 'Have pity on me, have pity on me,
at least you my friends, because the hand of the Lord hath touched
me.' (Job xix. 21)" (Liturgical Year)
usage has appropriated Psalm 129 and the peculiar prayer for the
dead; it is a cry of anguish mingled with hope. The destitute
condition of the holy souls is well calculated to touch our
hearts. Though not yet in heaven, they no longer belong to earth,
and have consequently lost those privileges whereby God
compensates us for the dangers which surround us in our passage
through this world of trial. Their perfect acts of love, of hope,
of faith, and of resignation, have no merit. Such unspeakable
sufferings, accepted with their dispositions, would earn for us a
reward equal to that of a thousand martyrs; yet to these souls
they profit nothing, for all eternity, beyond the mere payment of
the penalty exacted by the just Judge. Beside their inability to
merit, they can no longer satisfy God's justice by offering Him an
equivalent such as He can accept. Their powerlessness to help
themselves is more absolute than that of the paralytic of the pool
of Bethsaida (Jn. v): the saving waters are left behind on earth,
together with the holy Sacrifice, the Sacraments, and the use of
the all-powerful keys entrusted to the Church." (Liturgical Year)
their friends persuade themselves that the souls departed are in
perfect peace! How little they do for their relief when their
bodies are buried. There is a lavish expense for the funeral. A
hundred dollars are spent where the means of the family hardly
justify the half of it. Where there is more wealth, sometimes five
hundred or a thousand and even more dollars are expended on the
poor dead body. But what is done for the poor living soul? Perhaps
it is suffering the most frightful tortures in Purgatory, whilst
the lifeless body is laid out in a state and borne pompously to
the graveyard. It is right and fitting to show all due respect
even to the body of a deceased friend, for that body was once the
dwelling place of his soul. But, after all, what joy has the
departed, and perhaps suffering, soul in the fine music of the
choir, even thought he choir be composed of the best singers in
the country? What consolation does it feel in the superb coffin,
in the splendid funeral? What pleasure in the costly marble
monument, in all the honors that are so freely lavished on the
body? All this may satisfy, or at least seem to satisfy, the
living, but it is of no avail whatever to the dead. Poor, unhappy
souls! how the diminution of true Catholic faith is visited upon
them. Those that loved them in life might help them, and do not,
for want of knowledge of faith! Poor, unhappy souls! Your
friends go to their business, to their eating and drinking, with
the foolish assurance that the cause cannot be hard with one they
know to be so good! Oh! How much and how long this false charity
of your friends causes you to suffer." (Muller)
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