Article: Supporting parishioners through grief

Newry Cathedral News

A Call to Service

In November, Newry Cathedral Parish remembers the dead of the last year in a special way by displaying the names of loved ones in the church and also by having a special service for those who have been bereaved on the 15th,16th,17th and 18th November. There are around 200 deaths in our parish in the last year.

The death of someone we love can be devastating and is the most painful and complex loss we are ever likely to experience. Sooner or later grief comes to us all. Then we have to journey through the grieving process which can include shock, numbness, disbelief, anger, guilt, physical and emotional pain and chaos of thought, until we sense a new beginning.

As a Parish we are planning on setting up a Bereavement Ministry and we are seeking volunteers to help. There are a number of reasons to include bereavement ministry in our parish.

Jesus told us to comfort those who mourn.

Jesus says in the Beatitudes, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” There are mourners in our parish. There have been deaths of our parishioners this year We should comfort them?
In fact, the Bible has a host of references to grief and mourning. Jesus himself mourned after the death of Lazarus, and supported the dead man’s family in their grief. Our quest to be Christ-like shouldn’t neglect how Jesus approached grief and the grieving.

It applies to everyone at some point.

Everyone dies, so it stands to reason that just about everyone will, in fact, have someone close to them die at some point in their life. Most of us will have many people die, and we will struggle horribly for years after some of them. No one goes through life without grief.
That is why a ministry for those who are grieving is such a good thing. Other than birth and taxes, grief is the only thing guaranteed to touch the lives of every parishioner at some point.

It is what people are looking for

Major upheavals bring people to faith. Death causes us to think about what comes after this life. Funerals return many Catholics to church sometimes for the first time in decades. All of these are very good reasons to be prepared to minister to the grieving.
Perhaps the best thing we can do as a parish is provide a home for the grieving. When our parish supports someone in a time a grief, it doesn’t just affect that person – all of their family and friends learn that they were able to turn to the Church during a painful time.

Newry Cathedral Parish want to make sure fellow parishioners are never alone in their grief.

If you wish to become involved in setting up or supporting a Bereavement Ministry, then contact Eamon and Kathleen O’Hare; or Mobile: 07970191416.