From Forums of the Virgin Mary [translated from Portuguese]:
The souls that spend their purgatory in the Churches reveal themselves to priests.
There are many stories of souls fulfilling their purgatory in a church.
There are legends such as that of Alondra de la Catedral de Toledo, a young woman who tragically died before being able to get married and began to appear in the cathedral during Masses.
Several priests and parishioners claimed to have seen her, dressed in a white dress and a flower crown.
And there are also stories from Padre Pio about monks who were fulfilling their purgatory inside the convent of San Giovanni Rotondo, where he lived.
And with whom he had contact.
And there are repeated testimonies of priests who have witnessed souls while praying inside the churches.
Here we will count four meetings of priests with souls in purgatory inside the churches.
A U.S. priest entered the sacristy to prepare for morning Mass and heard a group of men and women praying the Rosary in the church, with a devotion not normally encountered.
And he was surprised because it was too early to say the Rosary; there were no cars in the parking lot, and how had they gotten in?
He opened the sacristy door and peered into the church.
And as soon as he opened the sacristy door, the prayer stopped and he saw that the church was empty.
Confused, he entered the sacristy again and heard the same prayer of the Rosary again.
Then he realized they must be souls in purgatory praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament, because God sometimes allows poor souls to pray in church in front of the Blessed Sacrament — to do at least part of their cleansing in familiar places.
But a Filipino priest even came to pray with them, although they remained invisible.
One night after the devastating typhoon “Amy” of December 8, 1951, a young priest named Cipriano Urgel was reciting the Latin prayer for the dead, inside the chapel of the Virgin of the Assumption Church in Barangay Bontay.
What happened that night became part of the legend of Urgell, because later this priest would be the first archbishop of the Archdiocese of Palo in 1982.
Urgel was praying the “Hail Mary” in Latin in a low voice when he heard a voice from somewhere answering, “Holy Mary, mother of God…”, also in Latin.
When he looked around there was no one there but only him. Frightened, the priest stopped praying and hardly slept that night.
The following night Urgel again prayed the response.
And when he began to pray the Hail Mary, this time several voices responded with “Holy Mary, Mother of God…”.
Once again he looked around, but he was the only one inside the chapel.
And instead of being scared, Urgel continued to pray, but now, when he recited the Holy Rosary, it was a choir that answered, and their voices also grew. [scroll for more:]
Urgel continued his recitation every night with the strange voices as a chorus, until it faded in frequency and then stopped altogether.
He was later informed that the chapel was the site of an old burial ground before the church was built in the 1870s.
And he thought that those were lost souls that made their way back to God there.
Another case occurred in a parish in Alaska and was written about thanks to the Leonese Jesuit priest Segundo Llorente, a missionary in the Arctic Circle.
Father Llorente says that he transcribed the testimony of another priest, but many think that it happened to him.
After the Christmas Midnight Mass, he personally closed the church, went to his room, and fell asleep.
At 7:30 in the morning, he got up and went back to the church with the intention of having an hour of prayer.
He opened the side door that led to the sacristy, then turned on the lights in the church.
And when he opened the door he saw strangely dressed people, with the poorest clothes, who occupied most of the pews.
They were all in total silence. No one moved and no one cared to look at him.
A small group stood by the manger scene, contemplating it in total silence.
The priest recovered quickly and loudly asked how they got there: Who had let them in?
And a woman answered nonchalantly: “Strange things happen on Christmas night.” And back to total silence.
He went to check the front door and found it locked just as he had left it. And determined to clarify the facts, he turned his face to the benches, but they were empty. The people had disappeared.
Father Segundo Lorente’s explanation is that they were the dead who were doing their purgatory, or part of it, in the church.
And we also have the case of a priest who went to check the Cathedral of Messina (Sicily) after a great earthquake.
Following lunch, he asked the custodian to open the door so he could watch over the place and pray.
After spending a lot of time admiring the statues and paintings, he went to pray in front of the statue of the Blessed Virgin. And he fell asleep.
When he woke up he noticed that it was starting to get dark; he tried to open the doors but they were locked.
He began to hit and shout for someone to help him, but the guard had gone home thinking that the priest had already left.
Realizing that he was going to have to sleep in the church, he settled into a confessional for the night.
After the bell rang at midnight, he heard a noise, and astonished, he saw the altar of the church surrounded by a mysterious light.
And from a niche in the wall appeared a monk with his hood over his head, who said aloud, “There is a priest here, who will celebrate a Mass for my suffering soul in purgatory!”
The priest, afraid, hid in the confessional and began non-stop prayer.
At two in the morning, the bells rang again and he saw that the altar was illuminated once more, and the monk came out of the niche, saying, “There is a priest here, who celebrates a Mass for my suffering soul in purgatory!”
The priest, still scared, said nothing, and once again the church darkened.
Then the priest asked the Blessed Virgin to give him courage.
He heard the bells of three in the morning. And the monk came out again asking if there was a priest to celebrate mass.
The priest left the confessional and said: “Yes, I will.”
He went to the altar and found everything prepared for the Mass, he dressed himself and offered the Mass for the intention of the repose of the monk’s soul.
And after finishing the Mass, he heard the voice coming from the niche in the wall that said to him, “I cannot thank you enough for what you have done for me. For 145 years I have come here asking someone to help me.
“Tonight I will be in Heaven for your Mass and your act of charity.
“By the Grace of God, I will show you my gratitude by warning you when your own death is near.”
And years later, the monk indeed notified the priest of his death three days in advance.
And later, when they began to restore the church, they found in the niche in the wall, near the altar, the skeleton of a monk in a brown hood.
Well so far what we at Forums wanted to talk about how God allowed some priests to see souls in purgatory purifying themselves inside the churches, so that they would later report it.
And we would like to ask you why you think those souls are purifying themselves within the churches.
[resources: books on the afterlife, purgatory]