Can the Holy Souls in Purgatory Pray for Us?

In my homily this weekend, I spoke about Purgatory and praying for the dead. Purgatory is an important part of our Catholic faith and understanding of what happens to us after earthly death. Unfortunately, it is not talked about much. If you know me, you know the fact that people don’t know much about Purgatory or that people think the Church no longer believes in it motivates me to speak and/or write about it. There are several articles on my blog and website about Purgatory, funerals, and grieving. You can find them at–mass-intentions–and-purgatory.html.

My most comprehensive explanation of Purgatory is found in my article, “Purgatory as a Gift That Gets Us in Shape for Heaven.” While that article flowed from various reading I had done, after Mass this weekend I was asked a question that I had not come across before, “Can the Holy Souls of Purgatory pray for us?”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church talks about the Communion of Saints (see paragraphs 954ff). There are three “states” within the Communion of States. The saints already in Heaven, those awaiting final purification in Heaven, and us on Earth who continue to strive to live good Christians lives. The saints in Heaven offer intercession for us. We pray for those in Purgatory. Who do the souls in Purgatory pray for? Can they pray for anyone. It now seems like an obvious question but I had not thought of it before.

So, I took the question and did some looking. Based on some articles I found online (see list below), this is an open theological question. In Purgatory, they are not yet saints who regularly intercede for us before God. However, they are part of the Communion of Saints and they are God’s children. God always listens to his children’s prayers.

Of course, one could ask if the Catechism has anything to say about the souls in Purgatory praying for us. Paragraph 958 ends by saying about those in Purgatory, “Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.” “Their intercession for us”? If they are interceding for us, they are praying for us.

When we suffer, we can offer our suffering for the needs of others. Is it not possible that the souls in Purgatory can offer up their “pain” for us? We leave their prayers in the hands of God. What is certain is that we are called to pray for them.


Fr. Jeff

Fr. Charles Grondin, “Can Souls in Purgatory Intercede for Us?”, Catholic Answers website,

Emily Stimpson Chapman, “9 Truths About Purgatory”, on Our Sunday Visitors website,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.