Bereavement Ministry
ST. COLUMBKILLE BEREAVEMENT MINISTRY

ST. JOSEPH THE WORKER BEREAVEMENT MINISTRY

Now I am going to tell you a mystery.
...all of us are to be changed
in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye,
at the sound of the last trumpet.
The trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised
incorruptible,
and we shall be changed.
This corruptible body must be clothes with uncorruptibility,
this mortal body with immorality.
When the corruptible frame takes on incorruptibility
and the mortal immortality,
then will the saying of Scripture be fulfilled:
Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?
-- 1 Corinthians 15:51-55

Did you know that the very first place of Christian evangelization was a cemetery? The angel said to Mary Magdalene at the tomb, “He is not here. He has been raised from the dead.” This is the first proclamation of the good news that Christ is victorious over sin and death.

Everywhere in the Church there is talk of the New Evangelization, of proclaiming the messageof Jesus, the Good News of Jesus, with fresh ardor, methods and expression. The word “Evangelium” has a long history. The term appears in the second part of Isaiah (cf. IS. 40:9), as a voice that announced joy from God, a voice that makes it clear that God has not forgotten his people.

Isaiah reassures the Israelites—and us—that God is still here, is present, even if it may seem as if He is absent. Isaiah assets that God has power, God gives joy. God opens the doors of exile. After the long night of exile, His light appears ad provides to His people the possibility of returning home. He renews the story of good, the story of His love.

In the time of Caesar Augustus the word “evangelium” was used for the emperor’s message. The first Christians used the term Evangelium very intentionally. They wanted to say that Jesus Christ is THE message from the ruler of heaven and earth. Jesus Christ is God’s Word, God’s message of love to humanity. The first Christians in using the term Evangelium were announcing a victory over sin, oer all that separates us from God and from one another. they were boldly proclaiming Christ’s victory over the grave.

Our Catholic cemeteries are places of the New Evangelization. The words spoken at our cemeteries are comforting, reassuring us that in our loss, in our pain, God is with us. We no longer need grieve over death like those who have no hope. As Saint Paul teaches in his letter to the Thessalonians: “For if we believe that Jesus dies and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with Him those who have fallen asleep.”

WHY?

Faith questions naturally arise during these agonizing times: How can I walk with God when God seems to have forgotten all about me? How can I pray when I hurt so much? What do I do when the ways that I used to pray don't work for me?

When we feel engulfed by such questions, there are some helps to which we can turn.

Picture God on your side. The way we picture God has much to do with the way we walk with God during our time of loss. It is helpful to picture God as being on our side rather than against us or responsible for our suffering. Harold Kushner tells us in When Bad Things Happen to Good People that God does not send suffering to us; rather, suffering and loss are a result of the human condition.

Picturing God as One who is on our side is a strong biblical image. God will never abandon us or forget us. God has great compassion for us, yearning for our peace and joy. Many writers see God as suffering with us, walking the road of our grief, having infinite concern for us.

As we pray during our time of grief, we can picture God sitting by our side, looking upon us with much love, or walking with us and listening to our story of sorrow.

–Excerpt from Walking With God Through Grief and Loss by Joyce Rupp, O.S.M.

You do not grieve alone. St. Columbkille and St. Joseph The Worker community grieves with you.

Our Vision-

The purpose of this ministry is to provide support to individuals who are experiencing grief through the death of a loved one. The Church calls each member of Christ's Body to participate in the ministry of consolation: to care for the dying, to pray for the dead, and to comfort all who mourn. Our Lord is the example of comfort and support to the grieving.

FUNERAL PURPOSE AND MOVEMENT

The funeral rite has two purposes: to pray for the dead, and to bring comfort and hope to the mourners.

The rite has one direction in movement: forward in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. The beloved deceased is moved forward step by step, from the place of life to the place of death, to the place of visitation, to the place of worship, and then to the sacred place of repose. This assists the mourners in accepting the death, by a series of gradual "goodbyes."

The rite begins by acknowledging the pain of loss. It weaves together memory and hope, drawing the life just ended into the mystery of Christ's resurrection. The transition is crystallized in the preface of the Mass: "Lord, for your faithful people, life is changed, not ended."