It is during times of sorrow and loss that we often find the greatest love and support. For families who are grieving the loss of a loved one, the Funeral Dinner Ministry is a valuable way of taking care of our parish family. Connie Rockers co-chairs the Funeral Dinner Ministry with Darrel and Kathy Smith. They work with a team of nearly 70 volunteers to provide a luncheon after every funeral. With many volunteers, this big task comes together quickly and is a huge service to families.
“It gives them a place after the funeral to come back and visit,” Connie says. “They don’t have to worry about feeding their relatives. I think it really impacts them and gives them a sense that their parish is standing behind them. We always get really lovely compliments from the families and they’re just so thankful.”
Since funerals can come up suddenly, it takes a lot of communication and coordination to get everything in place. Cristy Sullivan starts the process by ordering the main course and sides through the school’s supplier. She then reaches out to Connie, Darrel, and Kathy so that they can notify their volunteers. In turn, the volunteers are called on a rotating basis — thus, it is very rare that anyone is asked to provide something twice in a row. Each volunteer is asked to provide just one dish, such as a salad, rolls, or dessert.
After two years of coordinating funeral dinners, Connie is continually impressed by how volunteers step up when there is a need.
“Once I’ve got them I don’t let them go,” Connie says. “I want them to know they are the most wonderful people I’ve ever met. They don’t tell me ‘no’ unless they absolutely have to.”
On the day of the funeral, volunteers set up tables which are then decorated with handmade crosses provided by a parishioner — this adds a unique and personal touch to the meal. Volunteers prepare food and beverages and have everything ready to welcome the family and friends after the funeral.
“It’s a very needed ministry,” Connie says. “I’ve looked back at the times my parents passed away and I wouldn’t have known what to do. I love doing it and knowing that I’m helping somebody out. It just makes my heart happy.”
Coming together to provide a meal builds up the community in more than one way. The family is cared for and supported while the volunteers work together and get to know other parishioners.
“I’ve gotten to know so many more of the ladies and gentlemen, and that makes me feel more welcome, especially when we go to Mass,” Connie says.
The Funeral Dinner Ministry is always looking for more volunteers to keep the work light. It’s simple to be added to the list and receive a call when there is a need.
“It’s a very worthwhile ministry and it doesn’t take much time to do,” Connie says.
To help with the Funeral Dinner Ministry, contact Connie Rockers at 785-218-3547 or firstname.lastname@example.org.