During All Souls Week it is customary to pray for the souls in purgatory. Here is the prayer of Saint Gertrude, a 13 century Benedictine nun:
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.
Here is something about the All Souls Indulgence granted to the faithful that I found on Catholic Culture:
“An indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, even if only mentally, for the departed. The indulgence is plenary each day from the first to the eighth of November; on other days of the year it is partial.”
“To acquire a plenary indulgence it is necessary also to fulfill the following three conditions: sacramental Confession, Eucharistic communion, and prayer for the intention of the Holy Father.”
Today’s gospel has the Pharisees griping once again about Jesus associating with sinners, and Jesus replies about going out for the lost sheep , and about seeking the lost coin. He seeks the sinner, the infirm, the souls wounded here on earth. This week also emphasizes his also going after those same souls once they depart this place. All Souls week is about going after those wandered sheep in purgatory, and one of the ways of reaching those souls is through our prayers. Our intercession on another’s behalf is indeed going after a lost sheep, or seeking out a missing coin. In our taking part of Jesus mission of reaching out to the lost and wounded, in going after the lost sheep, we to are in some way rescued from our own wandering. In that act of prayer for the sake of another, we too are listening to that Shepherds voice and returning to Him. Along with bringing back another, we too return to that Shepherd Jesus.