Mass for the Dead

Is there a fixed number of Masses that are generally said for the repouse of a deceased’s soul? How do you know if “enough” Masses have been celebrated for that intention? I’ve been wondering about this of late, yet I haven’t been able to find an answer.

I’ve wondered the same thing… and lately I started wondering about plenary indulgences for certain souls as well.

If I offer a plenary indulgence for a certain soul in purgatory, does that mean that the soul no longer needs Masses?

I don’t think there’s such a thing as “saying X number of Mases is guaranteed to get somebody out of purgatory”, because only God knows the state of a person’s soul and how much "time in purgatory (for want of a better way of putting it) they need to satisfy God’s justice. There is something called the “Gregorian Mass”, where the Mass is offered every day for 30 consecutive days for the repose of a particular individual, but that isn’t a guarantee that they will be out of Purgatory by the end of it. I’m not sure it’s possible to know that a particular soul has left purgatory, short of some kind of private revelation from God, or the person being canonised!

Personally, I would still have Masses offered for a person even if I offered a plenary indulgence for them. I once read, many years ago, that things like defects in your intentions, or attachments to sin, can mean that even if you try to get a plenary indulgence, in fact you only get a partial one. So I could only end up getting partial remission for the soul, in which case they would still need Masses.

You may like to have a look around the following website: as it is dedicated to halping the Holy Souls and contains some useful information.

So basically I should offer Mass for them as many times as I can? Not that I’m looking for a “get out of Purgatory” “card”, but I’ve begun to wonder about deceased family members who have not had a Mass said for them since they died, long before I was even born.

Thank you Mark for the great reply. Makes me think that maybe I should have my Gregorian Masses put in my will. These days, it seems that thinking about the dead is just about memories rather than about trying to help them out of purgatory. Now to find somewhere where they do Gregorian Masses!

To get around this problem I simply donated to have perpetual Masses said for two of my deceased loved ones. I now know that aside from the Masses I have said at my local parish on the anniversary of their deaths that they are also being remembered in daily Masses said by very devout religious orders. Also, the Lord does not allow prayers to go to waste. If your loved one is in Heaven and has no need of your prayers then your prayers will either work to your own spiritual growth and benefit or to that of another poor soul in purgatory who needs prayers. Since I do not know where my deceased loved ones are for certain I always add at the end of my prayers for them that if they are not in purgatory that the Lord allow my prayers to be said instead for the souls in purgatory who are in most need of prayers. :slight_smile:

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