Love does not let a little thing like death stand in its way.

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We pray for our beloved in Purgatory so that they may enjoy the Beatific Vision and for our loved ones in Heaven in memoriam and so that they may intercede for us, just as those we love in Purgatory and Heaven pray for us.  Thus the bonds of love expressed in prayer keep us linked to those we cannot see, except in priceless memories, and who we long to be reunited with after our days in this Vale of Tears are done.

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This Week’s Ask Alice: Praying for the Dead, More About the Sacrament of Reconciliation, What Constitutes A Shrine.

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She’ll answer as many questions as possible,
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Joan Writes: Where are references to praying for the dead in the Bible? And how can I refute my son when he says prayers for the dead are ridiculous because they are already dead and you can’t help them after they are dead.

Alice Answers: Aren’t children experts at challenging our patience and faith? With three kids of my own and 28 years of catechizing other people’s children, your son’s question is a common one.

The earliest Bible reference that states the doctrine of praying for the dead is found in the Old Testament. When the Israelite leader, Judas Maccabeus, and his army gathered up bodies of the slain for burial they found amulets to the idol, Jamnia, under the tunics of the deceased. Since Jews were forbidden, by law, from wearing pagan charms, Judas and his men prayed for the dead that their sinful deed might be forgiven.

“He then took up a collection among his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this hea acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if her were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been foolish and useless to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward which 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 Maccabees 12:43-46)

I hope this helps you explain to your son, the ministry of praying for the dead.

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

Here’s a couple of pages of related scripture references

A recent article on Purgatory and praying for the dead

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Mike Asks: Why do I have to confess my sins to a priest? The shortest, sweetest answer possible is preferred.

Alice Answers: We must confess our sins to a priest because Jesus Himself instituted the Sacrament of Penance when He gave His apostles the power to forgive sins. “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven. If you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20: 22-23)

The sacrament of Penance is necessary for salvation since it provides forgiveness from all the sins we have commited since Baptism. It sometimes is called “laborious baptism.” The sacrament of Penance reconciles us with God and the Church, which by our sins, we have wounded.

Baptism and Penance are sacraments of exorcism. Penance is more powerful than the rite of exorcism. Penitents obtain pardon for their sins. The rite of exorcism is a sacramental, calling on the name of God to restrain the activity of the devil.

May God bless you abundantly for bringing Christ’s love to our incarcerated brothers and sisters!

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

Some “deep” background and additional scripture references

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Daria Asks: Do you know what is involved in something being made a “shrine”?

Alice Answers: A shrine is a sacred place where pilgrims come to pray and worship. As Catholics, we are invited to become part of the great pilgrimage that Christ and His Church have made and continue to make throughout history. A shrine is the goal of that pilgrimage, the goal of the pilgrim’s journey.

A precedent for shrine building can be found in Genesis (35:1) “God said to Jacob, ‘Go up now to Bethel. Settle there and build an altar there to the God who appeared to you while you were fleeing from your brother Esau.’ ”

A Catholic church becomes a shrine under the guidance of the local ordinary (bishop). A national shrine must receive approval from the whole episcopal conference. An international shrine must be designated by Papal (Holy See) approval. Catholic shrines include historical sites associated with Jesus, the Virgin Mary, a particular saint, or a sacred charism, such as the Divine Mercy Shrine in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. A shrine can contain relics related to Christ or a saint and be the site of visions, miracles, or miraculous statues.

A shrine is not a parish. It must be a self-sustaining, free-standing church. The rector is the administrator of a shrine. It is open to the public. The ministry of a shrine is to inspie both locals and travelers to become pilgrims for a day or even an hour. Mass, reconciliation, and special devotions are held at a shrine.

In Christ’s Love,

Alice