A Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

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Introduction to the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

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This Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory was written by St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787), a bishop and founder of the Redemptorist order, and one of the Doctors of the Church. Ever mindful of his own sins, Saint Alphonsus saw prayer for the faithful departed as one of the chief duties of Christian charity. Because of the communion of saints—the community that exists between Christians on earth, in Heaven, and in Purgatory—we can not only atone for our sins through our sacrifices but also lessen the suffering of the Holy Souls in Purgatory and hasten their entrance into Heaven. And they, in turn, assured of salvation through Christ's sacrifice, can pray for us, that we may persevere to the end and avoid the fires of Hell.

This novena is a very good way to prepare for All Souls Day (November 2); begin praying it on October 24, to end it on All Saints Day (November 1). It is also a beautiful way to carry out our Christian duty to pray for those who have recently died, or to revive our prayers for our departed friends and relatives as the anniversary of their death approaches. And, of course, it is an excellent way to mark November, the month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

Instructions for Praying the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

Everything you need to pray St. Alphonsus Liguori's Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory can be found in the following pages. Begin, as we always do, with the Sign of the Cross, then proceed to the prayers for the appropriate day, linked below. End each day's prayers with Saint Alphonsus's Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory and, of course, the Sign of the Cross.

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First Day of the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

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On the first day of the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, we remember our own sins and thank God for His mercy and endurance. We ask for the grace of final perseverance (to stay faithful through the last moment of our lives), and we ask God for His pity on the Holy Souls.

Begin with the Sign of the Cross.

Prayer for the First Day of the Novena

Jesus, my Savior, I have so often deserved to be cast into hell. How great would be my suffering if I were now cast away and obliged to think that I myself had caused my damnation. I thank Thee for the patience with which Thou hast endured me. My God, I love Thee above all things, and I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee because Thou art infinite goodness. I will rather die than offend Thee again. Grant me the grace of perseverance. Have pity on me and at the same time on those blessed souls suffering in Purgatory. Mary, Mother of God, come to their assistance with thy powerful intercession.

Pray one Our Father and one Hail Mary.

Pray the Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

End with the Sign of the Cross.

Proceed to Day 2.

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Second Day of the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

A boy in a cemetery.
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On the second day of the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, we recall our failings throughout our life and ask God for the grace to atone for our sins here on earth and the strength to dedicate the rest of our life to loving and serving Him.

Begin with the Sign of the Cross.

Prayer for the Second Day of the Novena

Woe to me, unhappy being, so many years have I already spent on earth and have earned naught but hell! I give Thee thanks, O Lord, for granting me time even now to atone for my sins. My good God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee. Send me Thy assistance, that I may apply the time yet remaining to me for Thy love and service; have compassion on me, and, at the same time, on the holy souls suffering in Purgatory. O Mary, Mother of God, come to their assistance with thy powerful intercession.

Pray one Our Father and one Hail Mary.

Pray the Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

End with the Sign of the Cross.

Proceed to Day 3.

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Third Day of the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

Remembering a loved one.
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On the third day of the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, we recall God's perfect goodness, to help us repent of our sins against Him, which prevent us from entering directly into Heaven. 

Begin with the Sign of the Cross.

Prayer for the Third Day of the Novena

My God! because Thou art infinite goodness, I love Thee above all things, and repent with my whole heart of my offenses against Thee. Grant me the grace of holy perseverance. Have compassion on me, and, at the same, on the holy souls suffering in Purgatory. And thou, Mary, Mother of God, come to their assistance with thy powerful intercession.

Pray one Our Father and one Hail Mary.

Pray the Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

End with the Sign of the Cross.

Proceed to Day 4.

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Fourth Day of the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

Woman placing flowers on a grave.
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On the fourth day of the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, we promise God that we prefer death to sin, and we recall that Holy Souls are in Purgatory so that they may be cleansed from the effects of their sins and love God completely.

Begin with the Sign of the Cross.

Prayer for the Fourth Day of the Novena

My God! because Thou art infinite goodness, I am sorry with my whole heart for having offended Thee. I promise to die rather than ever to offend Thee more. Give me holy perseverance; have pity on me, and have pity on those holy souls that burn in the cleansing fire and love Thee with all their hearts. O Mary, Mother of God, assist them by thy powerful prayers.

Pray one Our Father and one Hail Mary.

Pray the Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

End with the Sign of the Cross.

Proceed to Day 5.

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Fifth Day of the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

A girl in a cemetery.
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On the fifth day of the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, we remember that there is no return from Hell, should we end up there as a result of our sins. Sorrow for our sins and the grace of perseverance are the sure road to Heaven, even if that road should lead through Purgatory.

Begin with the Sign of the Cross.

Prayer for the Fifth Day of the Novena

Woe to me, unhappy being, if Thou, O Lord, hadst cast me into hell; for from that dungeon of eternal pain there is no deliverance. I love Thee above all things, O infinite God, and I am sincerely sorry for having offended Thee again. Grant me the grace of holy perseverance. Have compassion on me, and, at the same time, on the holy souls suffering in Purgatory. O Mary, Mother of God, come to their assistance with thy powerful intercession.

Pray one Our Father and one Hail Mary.

Pray the Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

End with the Sign of the Cross.

Proceed to Day 6.

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Sixth Day of the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

A man in a cemetery in winter.
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On the sixth day of the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, we recall Christ's sacrifice on the Cross, represented at every Mass in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. In return for salvation and grace, we have sinned against God; but now we promise to hate sin above all other evil.

Begin with the Sign of the Cross.

Prayer for the Sixth Day of the Novena

My Divine Redeemer, Thou didst die for me on the Cross, and hast so often united Thyself with me in Holy Communion, and I have repaid Thee only with ingratitude. Now, however, I love Thee above all things, O supreme God; and I am more grieved at my offenses against Thee than at any other evil. I will rather die than offend Thee again. Grant me the grace of holy perseverance. Have compassion on me, and, at the same time, on the holy souls suffering in Purgatory. Mary, Mother of God, come to their aid with thy powerful intercession.

Pray one Our Father and one Hail Mary.

Pray the Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

End with the Sign of the Cross.

Proceed to Day 7.

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Seventh Day of the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

I miss you.
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On the seventh day of the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, our thoughts turn again to the suffering of those who are being cleansed of their sins. We recall that their salvation comes through Christ's sacrifice alone; it is that sacrifice that will bring them to Heaven once their time in Purgatory is complete.

Begin with the Sign of the Cross.

Prayer for the Seventh Day of the Novena

God, Father of Mercy, satisfy this their ardent desire! Send them Thy holy Angel to announce to them that Thou, their Father, are now reconciled with them through the suffering and death of Jesus, and that the moment of their deliverance has arrived.

Pray one Our Father and one Hail Mary.

Pray the Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

End with the Sign of the Cross.

Proceed to Day 8.

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Eighth Day of the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

Man mourning in a graveyard.
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On the eighth day of the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, we admit our own ingratitude. We have too often rejected God's infinite grace and deserve eternal damnation. But God in His mercy has given us the chance to repent, and we pray for the grace to do so.

Begin with the Sign of the Cross.

Prayer for the Eighth Day of the Novena

O my God! I also am one of these ungrateful beings, who, having received so much grace, yet despised Thy love and deserved to be cast by Thee into hell. But Thy infinite goodness has spared me until now. Therefore, I now love Thee above all things, and I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee. I will rather die than ever offend Thee. Grant me the grace of holy perseverance. Have compassion on me and, at the same time, on the holy souls suffering in Purgatory. Mary, Mother of God, come to their aid with thy powerful intercession.

Pray one Our Father and one Hail Mary.

Pray the Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

End with the Sign of the Cross.

Proceed to Day 9.

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Ninth Day of the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

A man in a cemetery.
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On the ninth day of the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, we pray that God will preserve us from falling into sin ever again and that we will leave behind our life of indifference to His love and grace. We recall one last time the trials of the Holy Souls, and we ask God to make their time in Purgatory short, so that they may join Him in the glory of Heaven. Finally, we ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, in her mercy, to pray for us, so that we may not fall into sin before our life is complete.

Begin with the Sign of the Cross.

Prayer for the Ninth Day of the Novena

My God! How was it possible that I, for so many years, have borne tranquilly the separation from Thee and Thy holy grace! O infinite Goodness, how long-suffering hast Thou shown Thyself to me! Henceforth, I shall love Thee above all things. I am deeply sorry for having offended Thee; I promise rather to die than to again offend Thee. Grant me the grace of holy perseverance, and do not permit that I should ever again fall into sin. Have compassion on the holy souls in Purgatory. I pray Thee, moderate their sufferings; shorten the time of their misery; call them soon unto Thee in heaven, that they may behold Thee face to face, and forever love Thee. Mary, Mother of Mercy, come to their aid with thy powerful intercession, and pray for us also who are still in danger of eternal damnation.

Pray one Our Father and one Hail Mary.

Pray the Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

End with the Sign of the Cross.

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Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

Remembering.
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We close each day of the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory with St. Alphonsus Liguori's Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, which recalls Christ's Passion, as outlined in the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. At the end of this prayer, we ask the Holy Souls, whose salvation is assured, to pray for us, that we may repent of our own sins so that our souls may be saved, and we offer any special intentions—for instance, for a particular person who has died, for all of our deceased relatives and friends, or for those souls in Purgatory who have no one else to pray for them.

Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

O most sweet Jesus, through the bloody sweat which Thou didst suffer in the Garden of Gethsemane, have mercy on these Blessed Souls. Have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer during Thy most cruel scourging, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer in Thy most painful crowning with thorns, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer in carrying Thy cross to Calvary, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer during Thy most cruel Crucifixion, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer in Thy most bitter agony on the Cross, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the immense pain which Thou didst suffer in breathing forth Thy Blessed Soul, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

[Recommend yourself to the Souls in Purgatory and mention your intentions here.]

Blessed Souls, I have prayed for thee; I entreat thee, who are so dear to God, and who are secure of never losing Him, to pray for me a miserable sinner, who is in danger of being damned, and of losing God forever. Amen.