PRAYERS FOR THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY: A SPIRITUAL WORK OF MERCY. St. Padre Pio and the Old Man in His Room. Video summary and text.


St. Padre Pio and the Old Man in His Room.
Video summary and text.


One of the seven spiritual works of mercy is to pray for the dead, not only for our loved ones, but also for all those who have died in God’s grace and are undergoing their purification in purgatory. This is a way of living the communion of the saints. Above all, they are our brethren who are in need of our help.

The Biblical foundation of this custom and work of mercy could be found in many scriptural passages (see ). To name a few:

  • 2 Machabees 12:46: “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.”
  • Matt 12:32: “…but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him neither in this world, nor in the world to come.”
  • 1 Cor 3:13,15: “Every man’s work shall be manifest: for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire: and the fire shall try every man’s work, of what sort it is. If any man’s work burn, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.”

St. Padre Pio recounts an incident (among the many he had experienced) which occurred when one night he was sitting alone in a room absorbed in prayer when an old man entered and sat next to him.

Padre Pio wrote: “I looked at him but never thought of how he managed to get in the friary at that hour.  I asked him: ‘Who are you?  What do you want?”

The man answered: “Padre Pio, I am Pietro di Mauro, nicknamed Precoco.  I died in this friary [in a fire] on September 18, 1908, in room number 4.  I am still in Purgatory, and I need a Mass to free my soul from it. God has given me permission to come to you and ask for your prayers.”

After I had listened to his story, Padre Pio said: “You can rest assured that I will celebrate Mass tomorrow for your liberation.”

Padre Pio then said that the Holy Mass he celebrated the next day freed the man’s soul from Purgatory.  One of the monks in his friary checked the village records and found that such an individual had indeed died under the circumstances described by Padre Pio.

Dear friends, let us help and pray daily for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. The best prayer is offering the Holy Mass for the eternal repose of their souls. This way, we are united not only with our brethren in heaven and earth, but also with those in Purgatory. Let us also ask their help by praying to them, for with their sufferings, they can intercede for us before God.

As Pope Francis wrote in Amoris Laetitia n. 277 :

One way of maintaining fellowship with our loved ones is to pray for them. The Bible tells us that “to pray for the dead” is “holy and pious” (2 Macc 12:44-45). “Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.”

Grant them eternal rest, O Lord,
and let your perpetual light shine upon them.

May they rest in peace, Amen.
May their souls and all of  your faithful departed, rest in peace, Amen.

Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei.


LOOKING FOR THE BIBLICAL BASIS OF PURGATORY? Here are some 25 Biblical Passages in

THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY (1). On Sin and Temporal Punishment in




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