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What does the “communion of saints” mean?
The “communion of saints” is made up of all men who have placed their hope in Christ and belong to him through Baptism, whether they have already died or are still alive. Because in Christ we are one Body; we live in a communion that encompasses heaven and earth.
The Church is larger and more alive than we think. Among her members are the living and the deceased (whether they are still undergoing a process of purification or are already in the glory of God), individuals known and unknown, great saints and inconspicuous persons. We can help one another even beyond the grave. We can call on our patrons and favorite saints, but also our departed relatives and friends whom we believe are already with God. Conversely, by our intercessory prayer, we can come to the aid of our dear departed who are still undergoing purification. Whatever the individual does or suffers in and for Christ benefits all. Conversely, this unfortunately means also that every sin harms the communion.
Why does Mary have such a preeminent place in the communion of saints?
Mary is the Mother of God. She was united with Jesus on earth as no other human being was or could bein an intimacy that does not cease in heaven. Mary is the Queen of Heaven, and in her motherhood she is quite close to us.
Because she committed herself, body and soul, to a divine yet dangerous undertaking, Mary was taken up body and soul into heaven. Anyone who lives and believes as Mary did will get to heaven.
Dig Deeper: CCC section (946-962)