The focus of this week’s class was bereavement training, the second half of Paul’s letter to the Roman’s and a presentation on the encyclical Populorum Progressio, which is on the development of peoples.
This was our last class on bereavement and we discussed what it takes to be a member of a bereavement team and what the team does.
All parishes have an individual or team that helps families prepare for the last services for the one that they have lost. There are three services available: the vigil ~ Rosary, a funeral mass or service, and the internment service. Excluding the funeral mass, a deacon or a layperson may lead each of these services. There are very few parishes, like Holy Family, that has a bereavement team, which helps an individual deal with the grief experience after the loss of a loved one.
There are two distinct aspects of bereavement: first is helping with the funeral arrangements and, the second, helping those who are grieving.
A member of the bereavement team, as with all ministries, needs to be dependable. The team member also needs to be a good listener and, if possible, have empathy as one of their strengths. The bereavement process is filled with moments of ultimate sadness. There are so many details that must be attended too as the process of a funeral or prayer service, arranging for interment at a time when the loved ones are in the beginning stages of grief. Most will go through the motions in a fog, sadness and sorrow are all consuming.
The Holy Family bereavement ministry which Candy and Jay are two of the facilitators, offers the following services:
- A 1 ½ hour class for 8 weeks to help individuals understand and cope with their grief. These sessions are called “In Remembrance of …” and are held twice a year. The different stages of grief are discussed and explored. The group share their stories as well as pictures of their lost loved ones. Each session builds upon the last, the small faith groups explore the different aspects of the topics and how the topic applies to their lives. There are heart stones that carry the name of a loved one, for a week the griever carries their heart stones, the following week the loved one give the sadness and sorrow to another member of the group so that they might carry the sorrow for a week. A letter to God or their loved one is written at the end of the sessions and are sent to Heaven in the form of smoke, to touch the spirit of the lost one and to be embrace by God.
- A hour drop in session called “Care, Prayer, and in Remembrance of … (CPR)” held on the last Tuesday of every month (except December) starting at 6:30 p in the Pastoral Center, an open session that grievers can speak openly about hardships, sorrows, concerns.
- A Memorial Service held in May and an All Souls Day Memorial Mass held the Second of November where the community of Holy Family joins together to remember the loved ones that have been lost during the year. The All Souls Day Mass welcomes members of the parish as well as their loved ones to join with others who come to remember their loved ones and joining together in fellowship of understanding and compassion.
- An annual session called “Coping with the loss of a loved one during the holidays”. This session is offered in the middle of November. The Holidays are the most stressful and painful time for those who grieve because it is a time of family, when we draw together to celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus and celebrate the gift of family. With a loss of a loved one there is that empty place at the table, that empty place in the living room on Christmas morning, the sense of loss is more defined because this time of year is filled with so many memories.
- Recently “Quilting Bee for Bereavement” was held. This four session activity taught quilting while sharing grief. With the fellowship, instruction and construction each person attending learned the basics of quilting, but much more than this, all were able to share with those who shared their memories as well as their sorrow. The group learned that they were not alone in their sorrow and sadness, they learned that there is healing in sharing and being a part of a group that has common interests.
If you are interested in becoming a Deacon or a Deacon Couple for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, please contact:
3424 Wilshire Boulevard, 2nd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2241
Diaconate Information Days – Called To Be A Deacon?
Prospective applicants and their wives are invited to attend an Office of Diaconate Formation. Here you can meet the formation staff and learn more about the formation program.presented by the
Sunday, April 13, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish, 5801 Kanan Rd. Westlake Village, CA 91362.
If you have any questions about the Diaconate, please ask us or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. As we complete this calendar year’s classes, we would again like to thank all of you. Thank you for your continued prayers. Thank you for your continued support. Lastly, thank you for the occasional question on how that deacon thing is going.
Candy & Jay Krueger,
Candidacy Year I, Diaconate Formation,
Holy Family Church, South Pasadena, CA