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The beatification of 15-year-old Carlo Acutis caused great excitement in the Church, especially among young Catholics. Now, Catholics have yet another young person to get excited about: 17-year-old Montse Grases of Spain, who we discover is on the path to sainthood. Find out more when EWTN airs “They Might Be Saints: Montse Grases,” which airs at 11:30 a.m. ET, Saturday, July 10, and 11 p.m. ET, Wednesday, July 14 on EWTN.
“I think everybody gets excited about these young people – the Fatima children, St. Thérèse, Maria Goretti, Carlo Acutis,” says “They Might Be Saints” series Host/Writer/Producer Michael O’Neill, aka The Miracle Hunter. “It inspires the youth and gives hope to the Church.”
This teenager, who was declared Venerable on April 26, 2016 for living a life of heroic virtue, was a lay member of Opus Dei. If she is beatified, she will follow in the footsteps of Chemist Guadalupe Ortiz and become the second woman and second lay member of the international Catholic institution to achieve this.
The central message of Opus Dei, with approximately 100,000 lay members and 2,000 priests worldwide, involves the universal call to holiness. It teaches people to offer up their daily work and the ordinary things of everyday life to God.
“Montse fit into that idea that you don’t have to do spectacular deeds,” says O’Neill. “She was a regular teenager, with a sparkling personality, who loved who loved to play the guitar, sing songs, dance, perform in plays, and play basketball and tennis.
“She was able to take those occasions of ordinary life and share her faith with friends, to do things well, and to offer her sufferings up to God. She inspired others by her holiness in everyday life.”
Montse died of Ewing Sarcoma, a cancerous tumor that grows around a bone or the tissue surrounding the bone; in this case, her leg. She offered her suffering for the Pope and for the founder of Opus Dei. “She set a great example for those who surrounded her,” says O’Neill. “She died well.”
Viewers of this episode will hear from a full roster of people, including the Prelate of Opus Dei, and the Vice Postulator of her Cause for Canonization, and will hear the story of a remarkable favor that took place through Montse’s intercession.
“The intercession involved a 2 ½ year old girl. Out of the blue she began having extreme health conditions. During her interview, the child’s mother says their life had gotten out of control and an MRI revealed a tumor in the hypothalamus. This was removed in surgery, after which the young girl started going downhill.”
Although the mother admitted that she was not one to pray to the saints, she started to see the face of Montse in her mind so she directed her prayers there.
“The next day she went to the doctor’s office and the child started to recover,” O’Neill said. “This surgery had never been done in that way before. It was a remarkable and unexpected success. Because it involved medical intervention, it is not the type of healing considered by Rome for a beatification miracle but this was a tremendous favor. These are the types of intercessions they are seeing.”
O’Neill says it’s Montse’s simplicity that he, and others, find so appealing.
“We have this idea that saints must be these famous people who accomplished a huge checklist of things. It makes us all feel that we’ll never get there. Her life is so simple yet so inspiring. Her story shows that if you live your life well and offer up your struggles and sufferings and the difficulties of life, you can achieve holiness too.”
He was one of the most important artists of his time. In fact, his work was so influential that Pope John Paul II beatified this Dominican priest on Oct. 3, 1982, and less than two years later declared him the patron saint of artists. His name is Fra Angelico, now Blessed Angelico, and viewers are invited to get to know him in a brand new documentary by Elisabetta Valgiusti, which was produced by EWTN in collaboration with Save the Monasteries. “Blessed Angelico” premieres at 10 p.m. ET, Sunday, June 27, with an encore at 5 a.m. ET, Friday, July 2, on EWTN.
Fra Angelico was a simple and holy man, but the times he lived in were neither simple nor holy. It was the time of the Western Schism, which saw the rise of three rival Popes, each with their own following. At the same time, St. Catherine of Siena, who lived 50 years before Fra Angelico, sought to reform the Dominican order after many in the order stopped following the original rule of St. Dominic.
”Although he came after St. Catherine, Fra Angelico was very influenced by her teachings,” said Writer and Filmmaker Elisabetta Valgiusti. “It is interesting that he is buried next to her in St. Maria Sopra Minerva Dominican Basilica in Rome.”
So how did Blessed Angelico help revive the fervor of his order? Instead of preaching or writing or any of the usual methods, Fra Angelico did something unexpected. He painted.
“Angelico preaches by painting,” Valgiusti says. “The main point of my documentary is to show people that his works are icons; their purpose is to allow faithful enter and contemplate the divine mysteries, to make people pray. He wants to bring people closer to Christ and to Our Lady, to help people know them.”
Incredibly, the documentary takes us to the large dormitory at St. Mark’s Convent in Florence, Italy, where Fra Angelico painted the cells of all of the friars. Today, that convent is a museum.
“Fra Angelico’s works are much more famous that he is,” Valgiusti says. “That’s why I wanted to make him better known. Most of the angels you see all over the world – on posters, cups, book bags, whatever – are his! But you don’t know it’s his work. He has really been exploited in a commercial sense.”
In addition to Florence, viewers will travel with Valgiusti to other cities in Tuscany, where Fra Angelico was born and where he lived in the Dominican Convent of Fiesole, as well as to Rome, to Cortona and to St. Giovanni Valdarno, where two of his great paintings of the Annunciation are housed. As a Catholic filmmaker, Valgiusti interviewed theologians, scholars, and contemporary Christian artists who know and love Fra Angelico, not only for the beauty of his art, but for his spiritual significance as a painter as well as the patron saint of artists.
A brother of Fra Angelico at St. Mark Convents once said that Fra Angelico “does not paint, he prays.” Theologian Hans Van Balthasar said Fra Angelico’s art perfectly represents the motto of the Dominican Order: “Communicating to others the contemplated mysteries.”
Fra Angelico never worked on anything other than religious subjects saying, “who does Christ’s work must stay with Christ always.” In today’s difficult environment, both in and out of the Church, this priest/artist’s work is particularly relevant and needed.
You won’t want to miss Valgiiusti’s beautiful documentary on the life and works of one of the most famous Catholic artists in history. If you don’t know Blessed Angelico, please allow Valgiusti to introduce you. If you do know him, you will want to revel in the beauty of his artistry and hear more about the messages this man of God tried so hard to communicate through his art.
Note: For more details about the “Blessed Angelico” program, please go to https://www.savethemonasteries.org/
Carlo Acutis was only 15 when he died of leukemia, but ever since Pope Francis beatified him on Oct. 10, 2020, his worldwide popularity has soared! How did a teenage computer whiz come to be beatified? Find out during “Carlo Acutis Week,” June 1-5, when EWTN will premiere six new programs on the would-be saint, including two EWTN Original documentaries as well as a special episode of EWTN’s Rome-based weekly magazine, “Vaticano.”
Most of the publicity surrounding this British-born Italian-raised teen rightly focuses on his extraordinary love for the Eucharist, which he manifested very concretely by collecting all of the world’s Eucharistic miracles recognized by the Church on one website – 2,000 years of history! That’s the reason EWTN proclaimed the week preceding the June 6th Feast of Corpus Christi as Carlo Acutis week. As you might suspect, Carlo was also a great advocate of Eucharistic Adoration, saying: “People who put themselves before the sun get tanned. People who put themselves before the Eucharist become saints.”
However, as you will learn during the documentaries airing throughout the week, young Carlo’s love for Jesus and the Eucharist manifested itself in many ways. As a young child, Carlo would exhort his mother, who admits she had only attended Mass three times in her entire life (First Communion, Confirmation, and Marriage), to take him into any church they passed so he could go in and greet the crucified Jesus! Thanks to his extraordinary witness to the Eucharist, Carlo ended up converting (or reconverting) many to Catholicism, including his Brahmin Hindu tutor.
Carlo’s evangelization was born of his love for God. He would explain to people that the world is full of temptations such as sex, alcohol, and much of television and that this is how the devil enters our lives. He would say we can’t face the situation alone. We need the Word of God, and the sacraments. However, far from turning people off, Carlo charmed and challenged those who met him by saying such things as: “Heaven is how you live with the Lord.”
The life of this young boy, which included wonderful acts of charity, will stir your heart. Don’t miss any of the documentaries airing during EWTN’s Carlo Acutis Week. They include:
- Vaticano- Blessed Carlo Acutis Special: EWTN’s weekly magazine from Rome explores the growing popularity of Blessed Carlo and his Eucharistic exhibition around the world. (Airs 4:00 pm. ET, Sunday, May 30, and 6:30 pm ET, Thursday, June 3.) (30 min.)
- I Am With You – A Documentary on Carlo Acutis: This EWTN original documentary, filmed on location in Italy, chronicles the life and witness of Blessed Carlo Acutis. It features photos, interviews and recollections with family, friends and others who knew him. (Airs 5:30 p.m. Et, Tuesday, June 1 and 2:30 a.m. ET, Wednesday, June 2.) (30 min.)
- Blessed Carlo Acutis – From London to the World: This EWTN documentary on the London connection to Blessed Carlo Acutis features his mother, Antonia, and Fr. Alexander Sherbrooke, whose dynamic parish in Soho mirrors Carlo’s intense devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. (Airs 11:30 a.m. ET and 11 p.m. ET, Wednesday, June 2.) (30 min.)
- A Journey With Carlo: The impact of Blessed Carlo Acutis is felt in the lives of the young people who knew him well. Hear first-hand accounts from friends and family who paint a poignant picture of this remarkable young man in this short 20-minute documentary. (Airs 5:30 p.m. ET, Wednesday, June 2 and 2:30 a.m., Thursday, June 3.)
- Signs – Eucharistic Miracles: An examination of five Eucharistic miracles based on research conducted by Blessed Carlo Acutis prior to his death. These miraculous events, recognized by the Church, occurred in Poland, Italy, Argentina and Mexico. (Airs 4 p.m. ET, Wednesday, June 2 and 10 p.m. ET, Saturday, June 5.) (60 min.)
- My Highway to Heaven – Carlo Acutis and the Eucharist: Carlo Acutis’ biographer and others share personal stories of his extraordinary love, reverence and devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, and his deep devotion to Our Lady. (Airs 6 p.m. ET, Saturday, June 5.) (60 min.)
A 28-Year Legal Battle Like No Other: Watch ‘Fighting for Life: The Story of NOW vs. Scheidler’ on EWTN
Today, most people in the United States take it for granted that they can protest – either in the streets or in print – something with which they disagree. But in 1986, that right was potentially challenged when the National Organization for Women (NOW) and two abortion providers sued a pro-life attorney named Joseph Scheidler in a case known as NOW vs. Scheidler.
This case, and a series of related lawsuits alleging everything from anti-trust to racketeering (RICO) violations, would take 28 years and three U.S. Supreme Court cases to resolve. Learn about the two men who gave everything to make the pro-life movement what it is today when EWTN airs “Fighting for Life: The Story of NOW vs. Scheidler.” (Airs 6:30 p.m. ET, Monday, March 22, and 11 p.m. ET, Wednesday, March 24 on EWTN.)
The story begins as Joseph Scheidler leaves his lucrative career as a business lawyer in the marketing industry to start the Pro-Life Action League, a bold voice for the unborn. He was a charismatic man who quickly became in great demand as a speaker. It was Scheidler who would teach members of the fledgling pro-life movement how to effectively protest against abortion. In response to the demand for information, he also wrote a book outlining 99 ways to fight for life.
NOW and two abortion providers launched their first attack by filing an anti-trust claim on behalf of all abortion providers and all women seeking access to abortion. They claimed that Scheidler’s book urged the shutdown of the entire abortion industry and was therefore anti-competition.
The firebrand business lawyer turned pro-life champion sought to counter the lawsuit by hiring an equally forceful lawyer to defend himself against these ridiculous charges. When he met lawyer Tom Brejcha, he admits he didn’t think Brejcha had it in him to do what needed to be done. But when Brejcha calmly informed him: “I win my cases,” Scheidler wisely decided to put his faith in the less flashy man. At the time, neither man realized the lengthy journey on which they were about to embark.
One of the more fascinating moments in the legal journey outlined in the film occurs during the second U.S. Supreme Court case, which involved the RICO allegations. It would lead Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the more liberal justices on the court, to ask the NOW attorney in oral arguments: “Could your theory have been used against the Civil Rights protestors?” When the answer was yes, Justice Ginsburg cut the attorney off. It was at that moment that the pro-life attorneys knew they had won that case. In the final opinion, Justices Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, considered two of the more liberal justices on the Court, quoted that exchange in their decision against NOW.
This excellent documentary also showcases the drama and the fortitude it took to survive NOW’s many lawsuits, and the personal fortitude of both pro-life attorneys. Brejcha was told he either had to give up the case or leave the law firm at which he was employed and also took some serious financial risks, which understandably scared his wife.Brejcha would eventually found the Thomas More Society, which to this day defends those on the front lines of the pro-life movement. Former Planned Parenthood Director Abby Johnson says that pro-lifers know that “the Thomas More Society stands hand in hand with us. We could never afford the legal services they provide.”
What would motivate a young attorney to give up so much? Says Brejcha: “As a busy as a young litigator, I hadn’t been part of the pro-life movement or any protest movement, but I have come to believe that our rights come from the Creator, that they inalienable…that it’s a very honorable cause to serve during one’s lifetime.”
This film will help you realize what a huge debt the prolife movement owes to both the recently deceased Joseph Scheidler (may he rest in peace) and the quietly effective legal genius, Tom Brejcha. The story shows us yet again that the fight for freedom in the world is found not only on the battlefield but in the courtroom, and in the bravery of a small number of men and women who are willing to sacrifice their own lives so that others, including the unborn, may live.
During a crisis, Catholics instinctively turn to their faith for the grace they need to handle tough times. But what if the Church itself, the nation, and the world are also in crisis? How do we cope?
Discover the inspirational stories of people who are truly living their faith and making a difference in the Church and in this turbulent world when EWTN premieres the first five parts of a new “Faith and Life” mini-series. (Airs 5:30 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, March 8-12, on EWTN. See video promo here: PROMO faith and life.
Host and Film Director Campbell Miller, who EWTN viewers will know from his blockbuster docudramas “Hope: Our Lady of Knock,” and “Bravery Under Fire,”, kicks off the half-hour episodes with a focus on Fr. Richard Gibbons, rector of the famous Knock Shrine in Ireland.
Episode 2 will focus on Fr. Joseph Mary of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. Fr. Joseph helped turn around a gang-run housing estate in Limerick, Ireland using lessons learned from his own teenage years and his conversion experience to evangelize the improve the lives of those around him. In this action-based mini-series, you’ll see Fr. Joseph take kids rock climbing and motorcycle riding, which are two of his own passions.
In another episode, you’ll meet Fr. Martin O’Hagan, a member of the multi-platinum album selling group “The Priests,” Other priests interviewed include Father La Flynn, Prior of the Lough Derg pilgrimage site in Ireland, which is also known as St. Patrick’s Purgatory; and Fr. Patrick Peyton, nephew of the rosary priest by the same name.
“These people didn’t have to give up their hobbies and interests to become priests,” Miller said in explaining his interest in his first round of guests. “Their interests actually added something to their ministry. They used these talents to reach out to young people, taking them out rock climbing and fishing, or to a concert singing hymns to our Lord. I want to show that people within the Church are not these two-dimensional figures. There’s much more to them than that.”
However, this week is only the beginning. As the pandemic eases, Miller plans to travel the world to interview a number of fascinating lay people, who are living inspirational lives as well, but you’ll have to tune in to find out who they are!
“Whether we interview clergy or lay people, I think people would like to know their faith journey, their testimony, what brought them to the Church. Each episode showcases a different personality,” says Miller, a former teacher who found that kids think teacher’s lives, like those of priests, end when class or Mass ends.
Says Miller: “Despite the way secular society is attacking us. there are some really positive things happening in the Church. We need people to see this is really a living Church. I want to break down any preconceptions someone might have. Such great things are happening. We really need to be shouting about it.”
If you love stories of Catholic martyrs and other saints, images of beautiful Catholic cathedrals, or people meeting their long-lost relatives for the first time, then EWTN’s new mini-series, “Polish Catholic” with Fr. Mitch Pacwa is for you! (Airs the week of Feb. 22 at 5 p.m. ET on EWTN.)
Fr. Mitch invites viewers to accompany him on a personal journey of faith as he follows in the footsteps of famous and not-so-famous Catholic martyrs such as St. Andrew Boboula (“his body is incorrupt, you can see the kinds of tortures he went through”); St. Maximillian Kolbe (“whose body was burned to ashes at Auschwitz”); St. Stanislaus of Krakow (“the bishop martyred in a church by the King of Poland because he was fighting for the rights of the poor and for the Church”); St. Faustina (“we got inside her room in the convent”), and St. John Paul II (“we saw the museum that is his house”).
“We went to all the places of each of these saints except for St. Andrew Boboula because he was martyred in Russia,” said Fr. Mitch. “But we filmed the episode in front of his body in the glass coffin in Warsaw.”
In addition to its martyrs, Poland is known for gorgeous Catholic cathedrals and the series doesn’t disappoint. You will go inside the incomparable Czestochowa Cathedral, aka the Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Family, where Father was able to celebrate Mass; and the Divine Mercy Shrine in Krakow, where St. Faustina lived.
However, one of the more fascinating stories revolves around St. Mary’s Church, where a trumpeter plays a hymn every hour, which ends on a broken note. “They do that because a Tatar shot the trumpeter through the throat while playing a hymn [to warn the people of an impending Mongol invasion] so they still play it like he did in his day,” says Fr. Mitch. “It’s a hymn to Our Lady.” Because of that trumpeter, the city of Krakow was saved!
Father Mitch has been to Poland numerous times, and he knew the mother’s side of his dad’s family. But he had never met the father’s side of his dad’s family. In this series, you will see Father Mitch meet these relatives for the first time!
“I saw the house where my dad was born. There were about five houses with Pacwas in them! That’s not a common name. The only Pacwas were my relatives.”
Father Mitch shocks his relatives (and us) by revealing that his grandfather on his dad’s side of the family emigrated to the United States to escape the police because he was a murderer!
“My mother was pregnant with me when he died of alcoholism so I never knew him,” Father Mitch said. “My relatives had no idea there were these problems. But they told me about my grandfather’s brothers, who had stayed in Poland. Some were killed by Germans during the war. Other members of the family survived, and there was one priest in the family who died just last year. I would have loved to have met him!”
Father Mitch also visits the village of his grandmother, about whom he knew nothing.
Father discovered much of this history by researching his family on ancestry.com. He even found photos of the ships on which his family came to America: His grandfather’s photo was on the register of the SS Furnessia, and his grandmother’s was on the SS Rotterdam.
Father Mitch hopes EWTN’s viewers will check out his new series: “We were able to see how much things have changed in Poland since [the fall of] Communism. This is well worth seeing!”
Don’t Miss The Premiere of the EWTN Original Docudrama: ‘Explore With the Miracle Hunter: Lourdes,’ Plus A New ‘They Might Be Saints’
If you are a fan of travel shows – or simply love visiting Catholic sites where the most amazing miracles have taken place — you won’t want to miss the first of many episodes of “Explore With the Miracle Hunter.” First up: Lourdes! (This new 30-minute program debuts at 6:30 pm ET, Thursday, Feb. 11, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.)
“Lourdes is perhaps the greatest of all the miracle places in the world,” says Writer/Producer Michael O’Neill, who is best known to EWTN viewers for his series, “They Might Be Saints.” (More on this in a moment.) “The Basilica, the wheelchairs and stretchers, the waters, the candlelight procession attended by thousands in normal years. It’s stunning to see.”
In the first episode of “Explore,” O’Neill not only visits the famous Lourdes Basilica and the miraculous waters, but also travels to Nevers, France to see Visionary Bernadette Soubirous’ incorrupt body, and he dazzles us with spectacular drone footage of thousands upon thousands of people honoring Mary in a pre-pandemic nighttime candlelight procession.
That’s not all. As O’Neill walks around Lourdes, and all of the other places on his itinerary this year, viewers will also enjoy exquisite re-creations of apparitions and other miracles. In this first episode, viewers will see St. Bernadette’s visions of Mary.
“People see what happened because of this 14-year-old girl having 18 visions of Mary in 1858,” said O’Neill. “It gives viewers a sense of Catholic pride. People are not traveling right now, so this series is a chance for them to see some of the most sought after and exciting places where miracles took place right from their own couches. Travelers get a hint of what they would experience if they were able to go.”
Future episodes will take viewers to Paray-le-Monial, the site of the Sacred Heart apparitions; San Giovanni Rotondo, home of Padre Pio, the Holy House of Loreto; Lanciano, site of Eucharistic miracles; Rue du Bac, where St. Catherine Laboure received the Miraculous Medal, and many more.
Ven. Bishop Alphonse Gallegos
We would be remiss, however, if we didn’t mention the Miracle Hunter’s other EWTN series, “They Might Be Saints.” The Feb. 20 episode, the third to air in 2021, features Ven. Bishop Alphonse Gallegos, known in Sacramento, California as the Bishop of the Barrio. (Airs 5:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, Feb.20 on EWTN.)
“We have this conception of bishops in their offices and cathedrals, and you never see them except at a Mass,” O’Neill said. “But this bishop went to people’s homes and had dinner with them. He walked around the neighborhood. There was a lot of gang violence. The police would call him in to talk to the [gang members]. He would talk to low riders in their vehicles and encourage them to go to Mass. He was just a spectacular example [of the priesthood].”
Bishop Gallegos has been declared Venerable. This means that based on an examination of all of his writings and speeches, as well as witness testimonies, he is determined to have lived a life of virtue. The Bishop now needs a miracle to be beatified, and a second miracle to be canonized. Although a miracle has been submitted to Rome, the Feb. 20 episode, which airs at 5:30 p.m. ET, focuses on a remarkable cure that wasn’t submitted to Rome because it didn’t meet the requirements of “an instantaneous and lasting cure with no medical treatment.”
The patient, who had some medical treatment, was diagnosed with cancer that was so progressed that the doctors told him he had only two hours to live! However, this man had been one of the Bishop’s altar boys.
“He prayed, his family prayed, they had prayers cards asking for Bishop Gallegos’ intercession,” O’Neill said. “Decades later, this man is cancer free. It’s beyond remission. The cancer is completely gone. We have the testimony of this man talking about his condition. It’s a very emotional thing.”
As the Miracle Hunter tells us: “We have such a supernatural faith. We forget that sometimes. These miracle stories are a great reminder of that!”
Three Things You Can Do To Help Your Departed Loved Ones, And One To Ask A Priest To Do For the Dying
November is the month when the Church Militant prays for the Church Suffering, meaning the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Most of us submit the names of loved ones to our parish or a Mass society to be remembered during this month. But ask yourself this:
- What else can I do to make a difference for my loved ones who may still be suffering in purgatory?
- Besides the Anointing of the Sick, is there anything I can do to spiritually assist a loved one who is dying?
For answers to these questions, I turned to EWTN Chaplain Fr. Joseph Mary. Here’s what Fr. Joseph recommends we do in November:
For the Souls in Purgatory:
- November 1-8: You can obtain a plenary indulgence applicable only to the souls in purgatory if you “devoutly visit a cemetery and, at least mentally, pray for the departed.”
(That means you don’t have to pray out loud, but you certainly can!) If you are reading this after Nov. 8, don’t worry. You can still receive a partial indulgence by performing the actions above.)
- On All Soul’s Day (Nov. 2): You can receive a plenary indulgence for the souls in purgatory, if you “devoutly visit a church or oratory and recite an Our Father and the Creed.”
- Daily in November: Here’s a suggestion Father Joseph was given and really likes – so he is passing it on to EWTN’s viewers. Get out your calendar, and write down the name of a deceased family member or friend that you intend to pray for that day. Offer up everything, good and bad, that happens to you that day, and pray as much as you can for their release, if necessary, from purgatory. This is an important spiritual work of mercy!
- At any time, you can gain a partial indulgence for the poor souls by reciting morning or evening prayer from the Office of the Dead, or devoutly reciting the prayer “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.”
For Those in Danger of Death:
There are many benefits of working at EWTN. When my husband was dying of cancer, I knew I needed to ask a priest to administer the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. In fact, my husband had been anointed a number of times over the eight years he battled the disease.
However, when EWTN Chaplain Father Joseph Mary visited our home in the days before my husband’s death, he asked my husband if he would like to receive an “Apostolic Blessing.” That’s something I didn’t know about. You definitely want to ask your priest to administer this blessing to a loved one who is dying as part of the last rites, which state, “A priest who administers the sacraments to someone in danger of death should not fail to impart the apostolic blessing to which a plenary indulgence is attached.”
If a priest is not present as a person is dying, and they haven’t previously received the apostolic blessing during that sickness (which would suffice), the Church “grants to the Christian faithful, who are duly disposed, a plenary indulgence to be acquired at the point of death, provided they are in the habit of reciting some prayers during their lifetime; in such a case, the Church supplies for the three conditions ordinarily required for a plenary indulgence” (confession, communion, and prayers for the intention of the pope). In those situations, the Church also commends the devout use of a crucifix.
All of the above has yet another benefit. Father Joseph says that #958 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that our prayer for the souls in purgatory “is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.”
Did you know that? While the Holy Souls can no longer pray for themselves, they can pray for us! Think of the greeting you will get one day when you meet a soul whom you helped obtain release from purgatory! In helping them, we may very well be one day helping ourselves, when they are in heaven and we are not yet there!
(Note: For the LIVING to receive an indulgence we must go to confession 20 days before or after we perform the indulgenced actions; receive Holy Communion, preferably on the day or days we perform the actions; pray for the Holy Father’s intentions; and be unattached to sin. That latter is a tough one, but all is not lost. Since most of us are attached to something, we may receive a partial indulgence rather than a plenary indulgence.)