Masses. The holy Sacrifice is the greatest help we can offer, because its effect depends on itself, and not on the piety of the priest who offers it. Whenever possible, Gregorian Masses should be offered; these consist of thirty Masses celebrated on consecutive days for some deceased person.
If we cannot have a Mass said, we should at least hear Mass for our dear departed. A Mass has infinite merit, for it is the sacrifice of Our Lord Himself. It will surely avail our dead to offer for them God the Son Himself in Holy Mass.
Prayers. We should pray with devotion for the poor souls. God does not regard the length of the prayer or the words so much as the love in the heart of the one who prays.
There are special prayers enriched with indulgences, applicable to the souls in purgatory. We should also receive the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist for the poor souls. "Know ye that the Lord will hear your prayers if you continue in perseverance" (Judith 4:11).
Alms-giving. No pompous funeral or profusion of flowers is of any avail for the poor souls in purgatory. As St. John Chrysostom says, "Not by weeping, but by prayer and almsgiving are the dead relieved."
It is better to give to charity the money spent on idle and worldly show, which canot help the poor souls. Instead of sending costly wreaths to the family of a dead friend, it is an excellent custom instead to have Masses offered for his soul.
The Heroic Act of Charity. By this Act a person surrenders, in behalf of the souls in purgatory, all the satisfaction made to God by his good works, including whatever satisfaction may be offered for him by others during his life and after.
Those who make the Act may gain a plenary indulgence applicable only to the dead: (1) each day that they receive Holy Communion, if they have made their confession and visited a church or public oratory and prayed for the intentions of the Holy Father; (2) on Mondays if they attend Mass in supplication for the faithful departed, and fulfill the usual conditions.
For making the Heroic Act of Charity, the following prayer is suggested: "O my God, I voluntarily offer to Thee through the mediation of Mary, all the works of satisfaction that I may make in this life, as well as all suffrages which may be offered for me, after my death, in behalf of thepoor souls in purgatory, placing myself entirely at Thy mercy."
We should not, however, rely too much on the prayers and sacrifices that our relatives may offer for us after our death. Even granting that they will remember us oten and fervently in prayers, it is nevertheless true that works offered in suffrage for souls avail them only to a limited extent.
God gives more value to a little voluntary penance done here on earth than to disciplines offered for that soul after death. As a Saint aptly said, "One Mass devoutly heard during life is worth more than a great sum left for the celebration of a hundred Masses after death."
In 1977 he was appointed a representative of the Assembly of the Patriarchs and the Catholic Bishops for Caritas-Lebanon and three years later the Spiritual Counselor of the Order of Malta. Throughout his episcopal life he has worked tirelessly to promote multireligious dialogue with other faiths in Lebanon including Jewish and Moslim religious leaders. On April 19, 1986 he was promoted to Patriarch of Antioch for the Maronites and less than a month later granted ecclesial communion with the Holy See by Pope John Paul II who made him a cardinal bishop during his Consistory of November 26, 1994. As President of the Assembly of the Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon he has made great strides in safeguarding the spiritual and cultural traditions of the Holy Land's largest Maronite community while at the same time mediating as a peacemaker in a country that has been one of the most conflict-ridden theatres in the world over the decades. These attributes have made him a valuable asset to the Church. At the time of his entrance into the College of Cardinals he was assigned membership in the curial offices of the Congregation for Oriental Churches and the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care to Health Care Workers as well as the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Liturgical Texts. At 79, he resides in Bkerke, Lebanon at the Patriarcat Maronite house there.