In the Apostles’ Creed we say, “I believe in...the communion of saints.” In the light of some recent celebrations, it strikes me that you might find an explanation of this phrase to be appropriate. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains the communion of saints in paragraphs 946 through 962. In brief, the “communion of saints” means that we are in union with all who are redeemed, whether they are in this world or in the next. By virtue of this unity, we can pray for one another on earth, and we can also pray for those who have died. And those who have died can pray for us.
This has special significance because last Monday we celebrated the Solemnity of All Saints, which honored all who are in heaven. (Incidentally, since it fell on a Monday this year, it was not a holy day of obligation in the United States.) The saints are our spiritual brothers and sisters; they can pray for us, and they give us good example. Then, on November 2nd we celebrated All Souls’ Day, during which we prayed for those who have died but are still being purified (in purgatory). Our prayers can speed their way to heaven, because we are all united in the communion of saints.
Of course, this also means we can pray and offer sacrifices for one another here on earth. Many times in his letters, St. Paul asks the early Christians to pray for him, and he promises to pray for them. As for me, I promise to pray for you, the good people of the parish entrusted to me, daily. I humbly ask you to pray for me as well.