Why are we encouraged to pray for the dead?

“At the death of a Christian, whose life of faith was begun in the waters of baptism and strengthened at the eucharistic table, the Church intercedes on behalf of the deceased because of its confident belief that death is not the end nor does it break the bonds forged in life.” (OCF 4)

The dead need our prayers as we pray for God’s mercy and petition His forgiveness for all of their sins.  In addition, our prayers for the dead remind us that we are not separated from them as it strengthens our communion with all the saints. Such prayer is also beneficial to us as we prepare for our own passing from this life to the next.  We pray for the dead not only in our own personal prayers but also through Mass offerings.  There we join in the celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection and our desire and hope to share His victory with all those who have died in the same faith of Jesus Christ.  The Church has the annual celebration of All Souls Day every November 2 to commemorate all the faithful departed. Many parishes offer a special Mass on or around this day to especially remember those buried from the parish during the past year.  Masses for the deceased on the anniversary of their death, their birthday or other days are another way to offer our prayers for the dead.