Remembering Our Loved Ones: Newry Cathedral Opens Book of Remembrance
Newry Cathedral has launched a new initiative to honour and pray for deceased loved ones in the parish. The Bereavement Ministry has organised a special Book of Remembrance to be located at Our Lady’s Altar in the Cathedral. If you wish to add a name in this book, you need to complete a form. Forms can be picked up beside the book or you can download a copy of the form by clicking here.
The memorial book will display the names of departed parishioners on the anniversary of their passing. Prayers will be offered for all those written in the book, providing comfort to grieving families.
Canon Francis Brown, Administrator of Newry Cathedral Parish hopes the Book of Remembrance will bring solace to relatives mourning the loss of their loved ones. “Praying for the dead is, first and foremost, a sign of appreciation for the witness they have left us and the good that they have done,” said Canon Brown. “It is giving thanks to the Lord for having given them to us and for their love and their friendship.”
The Canon’s words echo Pope Francis’ sentiments on honouring loved ones who have passed away. “Remembering the dead, caring for their tombs and prayers of suffrage are testimony to confident hope, rooted in the certainty that death does not have the last word on human destiny, as humanity is destined for a life without end, that has its root and its fulfilment in God.”
Parishioners are warmly invited to submit the names and dates of relatives and friends to be included in the Cathedral’s memorial book. Names can be submitted by filling out a form at the parish office located at 38-40 Hill Street, Newry or downloaded from the Cathedral website. The Cathedral will turn to the relevant page of the Book of Remembrance on the anniversary of each person’s death. Candles can be lit beside the open book on these poignant occasions.
Families and friends are welcome to spend time in quiet reflection and prayer beside the memorial book. Priests will lead the community in praying for the deceased at every Mass. “It is our privilege to honour those who came before us,” said Canon Brown. “They built the foundations of faith and family we continue today. Though gone from this world, they remain forever in our hearts. We pray for our departed loved ones, but also ask that they pray for us too from their heavenly home.”
The Book of Remembrance represents the latest initiative organised by Bereavement Ministry. Since their commissioning in April 2022, they have assisted at over 150 funerals in the parish. The Ministry has also begun helping the clergy in the Dominican Church with funeral services. In addition, they play an important role in assisting the clergy in organising the November Remembrance Masses for deceased members of the community over the past year. These spiritual gatherings will provide another opportunity for relatives to honour their deceased loved ones. Families will listen to inspirational scripture readings and music and these special services will offer a time of community, healing and reflection.
Canon Brown stressed the Church’s ongoing commitment to both honouring the dead and ministering to the mourning through anniversary masses and this new book which will “ensure beloved members of our parish live on through our cherished memories and prayers.”
The Book of Remembrance has received a warm response so far, with dozens of parishioners already submitted names. Once prepared, pages will stretch back years and even decades, memorialising those who have passed away “Seeing their names written in the book will bring me such comfort,” said one parishioner who lost her husband five years ago. “I know he is with God, but the grief never completely goes away. The Cathedral’s prayers mean so much to me.”
Canon Brown said the Bereavement Ministry continues to review potential new ways to support the grieving. He welcomes suggestions from the community. “Our goal is being there for those struggling with loss, helping them through life’s most difficult times,” said the Canon. “If you have an idea or you think you could join one of our ministries, please come talk to us.”
The Canon extended his thanks to the volunteers whose work makes the Bereavement Ministry’s vital contribution possible. “It takes special people to do this meaningful but challenging work,” said Canon Brown. “We are blessed by their compassionate hearts and helping hands.” He added, “The laity have an important role to play in the mission of the Church. Their commitment and their involvement in church life are necessary”. We are grateful to the Bereavement Ministry for their sponsorship of this initiative and to Lermagh Design and OHMG for providing the book and stand. The Bereavement Ministry are also grateful to Sister Kathleen from Glenvale Convent for her guidance.
The Book of Remembrance and Bereavement Ministry demonstrate the caring heart at the centre of the Newry Cathedral community. In times of grief the Ministry offer practical and spiritual support and use this prayer at their monthly meeting in conjunction with reading the names of recently deceased.
Prayer in Time of Bereavement
Lord, you are close to the broken hearted.
Be with me now in my grief and loneliness.
Give me the courage to face my loss and grieve in silence.
Be with me as I struggle with many different and painful feelings.
Ease the hurt in my heart.
Encircle me in your love.
Stay with me, Lord, support me.
Help me to know that your power is at work within meas I deal with my grief.