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Praying for the dead. This is a spiritual work of mercy, but does it really do anything? Do our prayers matter to the dead? Do the dead matter to us?

I wanted to find us some help in understanding this practice of the Christian faith, and so I have invited Prof. John Cavadini to talk with us about his own practice of praying for the dead, the love of Christ poured out for us, and our communion with the dead in the Eucharist. Yes, these are theological matters, but they are also matters of devotion, of grieving, of longing, and of hope. I think that what we are about to talk about will matter to you. I think it will matter to me, too.

If you’ve been listening to our show for some, you know that I am working on a project between my own McGrath Institute for Church Life and Ave Maria Press about our relationship with our beloved dead. This is part of a book I am writing on this topic. As part of the project, I’ve been talking with people about their memories of and their hopes for their beloved dead. I’ve asked a few of those people if they would be willing to record an episode for our show so you can listen in, too. This episode stands in that line, and there were three previous episodes where I hosted, first, Laura Kelly Fanucci, then Stephanie DePrez, and finally Robert Cording. You may want to check out those episodes on our podcast if you like this one.

By the way, John Cavadini is professor of theology and McGrath-Cavadini Director of the McGrath Institute for Church Life at Notre Dame, which makes him my boss.