As in all the Catholic Church's tradition, at San Sebastian de Garabandal it was a very ingrained custom to pray for the souls in Purgatory. The Virgin Mary herself would take the girls to the cemetery to pray for the dead during the ecstasies. The witnesses remember very moving scenes, like the time when Conchita and Mari Loli walked upon the holy grounds and laid the crucifix they were carrying upon each tomb and then gave it the Virgin Mary to kiss. They also remember when Conchita put her cross through the iron gate giving the impression that she was offering the cross to be kissed by souls that only she could see. "The hardest hearts were moved," Maximina Gonzalez remembers.
The Spanish Civil Guard brigadier, Juan Alvarez Seco, notes in his memories of the Virgin Mary's apparitions at San Sebastian de Garabandal: “The inhabitants have very religious customs. They never forget, under any circumstances, to pray the Angelus as soon as the clock strikes noon. In the afternoon, they pray the holy rosary, led by the parish priest, or in his absence, by the schoolmistress or Maximina, a widow. Upon nightfall, Simon’s wife (Jacinta’s mother) goes out through the village with a lantern and rings a bell to remind everyone to say the last prayers of the day.”
Among these last prayers mentioned by the Brigadier, there was a very special memory for the souls in Purgatory in all of the homes. We have retrieved one of these prayers from the lips of Manolita Mazon. It is a truly beautiful catechesis about Purgatory and the very close connection we ought to have with the souls who dwell there. The ancient principle, "Lex orandi, lex credendi," is right. It means that what we pray is what we believe in, because prayer instills in us the eternal truths that our lips proclaim. "The Church believes how she prays," the Catechism of the Catholic Church says in number 1124.
Here we offer you an old prayer to the souls in Purgatory that the now elderly at San Sebastian de Garabandal learned from the lips of their elders. Generation after generation has prayed to aid the souls of their relatives and friends suffering in Purgatory. Hopefully this prayer helps us to interiorize the important teaching that each one of our words, actions, and omissions has eternal consequences. No one enters heaven without having purified him or herself perfectly. Moreover, it is a spiritual work of mercy to pray for the souls in Purgatory. Let's spread this prayer. One day we might need others to pray it for us.
Prayer for the Souls in Purgatory
Prayed at San Sebastian de Garabandal for many years.
Very dear spouses of the Lord,
enclosed in the prison of Purgatory,
you who suffer unspeakable pains while in want of God's presence
until purified, like gold in the crucible,
of the remains of your faults.
How rightfully do you cry out to your friends
from those voracious flames, begging for mercy!
I sympathize with your pain
and would like to supply enough [merits]
to satisfy for you before the Divine Justice.
Yet, being poorer than you,
I appeal to the piety of the just,
the prayers of the blessed,
the unfathomable treasure of the Church,
the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
and the infinite price of the Blood of Jesus Christ.
Grant, oh Lord, these poor souls
their longed for consolation and rest.
I also trust, grateful souls,
that I will have powerful intercessors in you,
who will obtain from the Lord [for me]
grace to detest my sins,
advance in virtue,
subdue my passions,
and reach the eternal beatitude
for all eternity. Amen.