Historical and Practical Overview
of the Archconfraternity


Mass for Holy Souls

The Archconfraternity exists to afford to all the means of securing the benefit of daily Mass for themselves or their friends, living and deceased, and especially to relieve the poor souls in Purgatory and to keep up among the faithful a lively faith in the following three truths of our holy religion:

  1. That after this life there is a middle state of suffering, to which the souls of those are doomed for a time who, though in a state of grace and friendship with God, yet have not fully satisfied the Divine Justice for the debt of temporal punishment due for their smaller sins, or for their more grievous sins, whose guilt has been remitted by the sacrament of Penance, or who die under the guilt of smaller sins or imperfections.
  2. That the living, by the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, by prayers, by almsdeeds, indulgences, and other good works offered up to God for the departed, can shorten the sufferings of the souls in Purgatory, ameliorate their condition, and deliver them from their place of torment.
  3. That to assist these suffering souls is an act of charity most holy, most salutary, and most pleasing to Almighty God.

The promotion of practical faith in these truths is the particular object of the Archconfraternity. The Purgatorian Archconfraternity is the best legacy, ensuring that the Holy Souls are neither forgotten in time nor in eternity! A simple statement of its history, and special spiritual advantages and privileges, will not fail, it is confidently hoped, to induce the faithful to become active members of it.


The Archconfraternity was established in the year 1840 by the Redemptorists in Rome, in their Church of S. Maria Monterone, as a pious society, for the object just mentioned. The Holy Father Gregory XVI not only approved the design, but extended to it his special patronage, and in a Papal Brief dated 8 August, 1841, raised the society to the rank of an Archconfraternity, with all the rights and privileges belonging thereto. Moreover, in order to show how highly they valued and esteemed this Archconfraternity, the Sovereign Pontiffs Gregory XVI and Pius IX have most generously and most munificently enriched it with the treasures of the Church, granting it no less than 35 plenary and over 200 partial Indulgences to be gained in the course of the year on different occasions provided that its members after confession and communion, would visit a church and pray for the exaltation of our Holy Mother the Church for unity and peace among Christian princes, and for the extirpation of heresies.

In 1841 and 1861 sanity governed the life of Catholics through holy popes who made decisions so wise, so focused on eternal things, that they could be written in stone as monuments that would never need to be changed or argued. It was then that the Redemptorist Purgatorian Confraternity was designed, blessed and given the personal patronage of the Pope himself, who raised it to an Archconfraternity.



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