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Jenny Brown wrote:

Hello, Mike —

Hope all is well.

I have a question regarding the dead.

I understand that we are not to evoke the dead. We are never to initiate communication.
That's necromancy — forbidden by the Bible.

  • Is this correct?
  • If it is, should I pray to my dead family and friends?
  • If that's true, why do we pray to the saints when they are all dead?

I'm a little confused on all this.


  { Why should I pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory and to the saints when this is necromancy? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Jenny —

Nice to hear from you again. Thanks for the question.

This is a very common confusion.

A good deal the mix-up can be found in how we refer to those who have passed from this life on to the next.

  • Our Lord
  • Our Blessed Mother
  • the saints
  • the Holy Souls in Purgatory
  • your family members and
  • my family members

are not dead! They are more alive then you or me.

Jesus said,

"I am the resurrection and The Life, he who believes in me will never die."

  • Why the confusion then?

Many times in the past, especially before Vatican II, it was common for a priest to celebrate a Mass for the Dead, or to have a set of novena's said for the dead.

What the celebrant and prayer warriors understood by this, is when saying "prayers for the dead" they are expressing the Mass or prayer devotion from their earthly view, not from the view of the reality of their [the departed loved ones] existence, [being alive].

Even for us living on earth today, this terminology is somewhat in use.

Though my father, Stephen Humphrey Jr. died two years ago, I could still go up to Fr. David and ask to have a Mass said for my father.  That fact that my request is expressed from a Church Militant [earthly] view, [my father died, was deceased, etc.], does not deny the realistic view, that my father is alive in Christ Jesus, Our Lord, even as I'm typing this reply more than two years after his [death|passing|departing].

This is why the term "faithfully departed" is a much better expression that does not deny they are really ALIVE in Christ Jesus Our Lord, praying for us, while waiting for the Second Coming.

You may be asking later:

  • Then can the Holy Souls pray for us? Yes!

My colleague, Brian, has discovered new saintly sources that affirm the Holy Souls can and do pray for us in Purgatory.

Although the saint's merit is fixed at their death, the saints in Heaven can pray for the consolation of the Holy Souls but can't pray that their temporal suffrages are mitigated.

This is why it is so important  for us to take the initiative in helping them. We can help.

If you hopefully feel more comfortable about praying for the faithful departed, check out my relatively NEW web site: Helpers of the Holy Souls.

We are trying to start Purgatory Prayer Programs across America. So far we have received confirmation that Holy Souls Devotees have received our program in 22 out of 50 states.

  • start it as a personal devotion
  • change it according to their needs and desires and
  • after a few months, take it to the pastor of their parish to see if the program
    can be implemented in the parish on a regular basis.

Get your FREE Purgatory Prayer Program today!

Hope this helps,


Eric replied:

Hi, Jenny —

Necromancy is one form of divination. There are many other forms of divination, such as:

  • geomancy (divination by tossing earth on the ground or relying on other random generations)
  • cleromancy (casting lots)
  • rhabdomancy (like dowsing)
  • tasseomancy (reading tea leaves)
  • and others.

These all seek to divine the future, to hear from the "Other Side", so to speak.

This differs essentially from asking saints to pray for us — which is why we pray to them — in that when we ask saints to pray for us, we are not seeking communication from them, as in necromancy and the other forms of divination. The point is not to divine the future. The point is to ask them for their prayers just like we ask our brothers and sisters on earth for their prayers. We don't expect a reply, message, or any sort of communication from them, thus it is not necromancy.


Jenny replied:

I guess I get some of what your saying.

In other words, I can speak to those who have passed on but I should never ask for or expect a direct reply from them. I should never ask them to give me a sign of some sort to indicate they can hear me, but I can ask them to intercede to The Lord on my behalf.

  • Do you think its possible for those who have "passed on" to talk to us or contact us in our dreams?
  • Do you think they can help us here in this world?

Jenn Brown

John replied:


We know from Hebrews Chapter 12 verse 1 that those who have gone on before us surround us in a cloud of witnesses.

We know from the Book of Second Maccabees that we can pray for them, we can ask their prayers, and they can and do pray for us.

So, of course, they can help us. It is possible for them to come to us in dreams, but it would only be if God allowed it for a particular purpose. It's not an every day occurrence. Again, we read about such an occurrence in Second Maccabees, where Judas Maccabeus has vision of Onias the Priest and Jeremiah the Prophet (who were both dead). In this vision, he is consoled because he sees both of them praying for Israel.

Also re-read the last part of Mike's answer to you.


Eric replied:

While asking for a sign is still not quite the same as asking them to foretell the future (as in necromancy), I agree this should be avoided. The point is to ask them to pray for us, not establish a dialogue.

It is certainly possible for those who have passed on to talk to us in our dreams, and it has happened before with saints, but it is exceedingly rare and I would never seek this out or expect it, and it is all by the grace of God.


Mary Ann replied:

Hi, Jenny —

The Holy Souls can pray for us. Our prayer requests to them, and whatever light we may receive about the souls, and the answers to our requests, all go through and come from God, by His power and permission.

Mary Ann

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