Our Story & Charter
Formed in July 2021, the Cumbrian Purgatorial Society was the brainchild of a small group of Catholic lay people based in the Carlisle area who felt the need to create a group to promote the important work of praying for souls and organising the dignified celebration of Holy Mass (and other liturgies) for the intention of those souls. Although the Society was initially formed with the intention of praying for those souls with a ‘local’ connection, the work of the Society is by no means limited by geography and anyone is welcome to enrol the names of loved ones whom they wish to have remembered in our prayers.
The work of the Society is of the upmost importance and anyone who is willing to commit to offering daily prayers (one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be) for the souls enrolled in the Society is invited (indeed encouraged!) to do so. There are of course many other beautiful prayers that are appropriate for the work of the Society, some of which can be found here.
A key founding principle of the Society is that there should be no financial commitment associated with enrolling souls including your own. However, for those people who are in a position to do so, financial donations are most welcome and, as a guide, a donation of £25.00 per year (or £250 for life) is suggested, although any donations however large or small are most welcome and greatly appreciated and you can still make a donation even if you do not wish to be enrolled.
The operation of the Society is overseen by unsalaried volunteers and any donations will be used to pay for activities that support the work of the Society such as paying the stipends of the priests who are invited to offer Holy Mass for the Society, contributing towards the upkeep of the churches that the Society uses and helping to pay for new vestments and liturgical books.
We know that sometimes a benefactor may wish to pay for something specific rather than make a general donation (e.g. flowers for a particular Mass, vestments or a new liturgical book), perhaps in memory of a loved one. If you would like to make a donation but would prefer that it was used for a specific purpose such as this, please do get in touch with us via the contact us page to discuss it.
Under the terms of the charter that the Society has adopted, one Mass per month will be offered for the intentions of the souls enrolled in the Society and each year (usually around All Souls day) a Sung or High Mass will be celebrated for the Society. Details of these and all other events related to the work of the Society can be found here. You are most welcome to join us and we look forward to seeing you there.
Charter of the Purgatorial Society
of Our Lady and the Cumbrian Martyrs
APPROVED 5th July 2021
- The Purgatorial Society of Our Lady and the Cumbrian Martyrs (the Society) is a pious association under the patronage of Our Lady and the Cumbrian Martyrs dedicated to assisting the poor souls in Purgatory and those who might sojourn there one day.
- Members assist at Mass (Usus Antiquior) on the first Saturday of every month at the church of Our Lady and St Wilfrid (Warwick Bridge, Cumbria) or at such other church in Cumbria and on such other day considered appropriate by the Committee.
- Members commit to praying daily for the repose of the souls of the faithful departed (one ‘Our Father’, one ‘Hail Mary’, and one ‘Glory Be’).
- A Solemn High Mass is offered annually on or around the feast of All Souls at the church of Our Lady and St Wilfrid or at such other church in Cumbria considered appropriate by the Committee.
- From time to time Vespers and / or Benediction of the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar will be offered for the intentions of the Society either at the church of Our Lady and St Wilfrid or at such other church in Cumbria as maybe considered appropriate by the Committee.
- To become a Member, apply online at prayforsouls.uk or email the membership secretary at: email@example.com
- Membership is free to any Catholic who supports the aims of the Society. For those who are able to do so, Members are encouraged to make an annual donation of £25.00 to help defray costs associated with (but not limited to) paying customary Mass stipends to priests who come to celebrate Holy Mass for the Society and to reimburse their reasonable traveling expenses, the purchasing of vestments and sacred books, contributing to the upkeep of the churches used by the Society, paying the reasonable costs of any professional musicians used to support liturgical celebrations and providing flowers for the altar. For those seeking lifetime membership, a one-off donation of £250 is suggested.
- Members may enrol the names of deceased loved ones into the Society by entering these online at prayforsouls.uk or by emailing the Membership Secretary at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Upon reasonable request and subject always to applicable privacy laws, the Membership Secretary will confirm the names of anyone who is a Member of the Society and / or the names of any person or persons that that the Member has enrolled into the Society.
- Members will receive an annual report on the finances and expenditure of the Society and will be kept informed of the location of Masses and other liturgical celebrations organised by the Society via an electronic newsletter or similar (paper copies available on request). The Committee of the Society (the Committee) shall comprise a: Chairman – responsible for convening and chairing Committee meetings and generally overseeing the work of the Society. Vice Chairman – responsible for organising the schedule of events, liaising with parish and external clergy and acting as Chairman in his or her absence. Membership Secretary – responsible for recruiting new Members, communicating with existing Members and managing the website of the Society and other online activities. Treasurer – responsible for maintaining the treasury and administering a register of donors, beneficiaries and Members.
- Committee Members will be appointed at the Annual General Meeting of the Society which will ordinarily take place in November of each year and their appointments shall be for a term of one year (or until the next Annual General Meeting of the Society – whichever is the longer period).
- The election or re-election of Committee Members will be subject to approval of not less than 51% of Members present in person or by proxy at the Annual General Meeting of the Society. Committee Members must be Catholics in full communion with the Holy See and in good standing. The election of Committee Members at times other than the Annual General Meeting will require the support of not less than ten Members of the Society.
- The Committee shall at all times act in accordance with this charter, the Code of Canon Law, in obedience to the local Ordinary and shall endeavour at all times to foster good relations with the local Catholic clergy. The Society will always act within the requirements of applicable civil law.
Extracts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church
•1030 – All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.
•1031- The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire: “As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.”
•1032 – This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: “Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.” From the beginning the Church has honoured the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead: “Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.” (St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in 1 Corinthians 41, 5: PG 61, 361; cf. Job 1:5.)”