Praying for all the Faithful Departed

Archbishop Cushley was the principal celebrant at Mass this morning to mark the Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed (All Souls).

He was  joined at Mount Vernon Cemetery in Edinburgh by Fr Dermot Morrin, Fr Thomas-Thérèse Mannion and Fr Matthew Jarvis, Dominicans based at St Albert's Catholic Chaplaincy at the University of Edinburgh (George Square).

Holy Mass for the Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed at Mount Vernon Cemetery Chapel.

Archbishop Cushley said: "We have, both in our Jewish and Christian tradition, a natural longing to wish to pray for the dead. We heard in our reading (2 Machabees 12:38-46) that it is 'a fine and a noble thing to do'. And that's where we stand as Catholics.

"Those of us who have lost someone more recently will feel that more keenly. So let's remind ourselves that is a fine and noble thing to do."

We pray especially for those who have died in the Archdiocese in the last year, including priests and religious:

Canon John McAllister (10 December 2022)
Canon William Conway (26 December 2022)

Fr Duncan Campbell OP (September 2023)

Carmelite Sisters, Dysart
Sr Joan of the Holy Ghost (25 December 2022)
Sr Margaret Mary of the Sacred Heart (7 February 2023)
Sr Mary of the Holy Spirit (28 February 2023)
Sr Jacinta of Christ the King (1 October 2023)

Society of the Sacred Heart
Sr Therese O’Donnell RSCJ 16 July 2023
Sr Rose Harding RSCJ 22 August 2023

Title image from left: Fr Dermot Morrin OP, Archbishop Leo Cushley, Fr Thomas-Thérèse Mannion OP and Fr Matthew Jarvis OP, at Mount Vernon Cemetery.

Prayers for loved ones on All Souls

Archbishop Cushley today offered Holy Mass for the repose of all the faithful departed of the Archdiocese at Mount Vernon Cemetery.

In his homily, he said: "We gather on All Souls to remember all who have died, and in particular those who have departed in the last 12 months.

"It is our belief as Catholics that the Mass and prayers offered for the dead are not useless or without merit, rather, they are not only an act of remembrance, but also an important part of our duty to the faithful departed.

"That sense of duty has brought you here today, praying for them, placing flowers on their grave, tidying up the headstone and so on.

"It is a good and noble thing to do, and it always gives me great comfort to accompany you."

He added: "No matter the end of those we have in mind today, no matter how young or old, prepared or unprepared; no matter how successful they were; no matter if their end was prolonged or sudden; a tragedy or a blessed release; we believe that all of them have been entrusted to the Father into the loving embrace of His son on the Cross.

"Today and throughout November, taking account of our own end and of the resurrection at the end of times, we pray for those who have gone before us.

"We assume the yoke, the light burden, of praying for the dead, of offering sacrifice for the forgiveness of their sins and for the repose of their souls.

"And with affection and humility we commend them all to the tender embrace of the Risen Lord.

"Eternal rest, grant unto them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen."

From All Souls’ Day to 8 November, there is a plenary indulgence for visiting a cemetery and praying for the dead there. The indulgence is granted together with the usual conditions of prayer for the Pope, detachment from sin and confession and Holy Communion around the time of the visit.  You can apply the indulgence to the dead.

All Souls' Day: Praying for those in Purgatory

Today is the Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed (or All Souls' Day) when we remeber and pray for those in purgatory.

The Vatican recently published a decree in which it stated that plenary indulgences can be obtained in favour of the faithful departed throughout the entire month of November.

Vatican News reportes that the decree  allows the faithful to gain plenary indulgences for the souls in purgatory by visiting a cemetery on any day in November and praying for those who have died; normally, the indulgence is limited to the first eight days of the month.

A second plenary indulgence is also established for the day of the commemoration of the faithful departed, All Souls’ Day. The current decree allows the faithful to obtain that indulgence for the benefit of the deceased on any day of November, at their choice.


An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment one deserves for one’s sins; people often will seek the indulgence on behalf of a loved one who has died or, especially in early November, for an unknown soul in purgatory.

The Church teaches that prayer, particularly the Mass, and sacrifices may be offered on behalf of the souls in purgatory. The feast of All Souls differs from the feast of All Saints (1 Nov) because it offers prayers for the eternal peace and heavenly rest of all those who died in a state of grace, but not totally purified.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.”

Read the Vatican News article here. Also see this article. Archbishop Cushley offers Mass today for the dead at Mount Vernon Catholic Cemetery in Edinburgh.