As many of us have experienced the loss of a loved one, we recognize the importance of comforting those who mourn. This kindness of being with the grieving can take many forms — but for the Funeral Hospitality Apostolate, it is providing and serving a meal to those who attend the funerals at the parish. For the grieving family, the process of planning and being at the funeral is a busy and difficult one, while possibly being one of the only times that they see extended family. Providing this meal is an act of compassion that gives the bereaved an opportunity to gather together as they mourn their loss.
Gloria Hill has been a part of this apostolate for 32 years, serving as the coordinator for much of that time. After Gloria’s husband passed away, she saw in the bulletin that they were in need of more volunteers and she answered the call to serve others during their time of need.
“I have had many members of my family pass away,” Gloria says. “It is a difficult time to go through and it can be hard to think or plan the things that need to happen. Being a part of funeral hospitality is one way that we can do something very practical and helpful for those that are grieving.”
The number of funerals that the apostolate serves varies. Sometimes there may be a couple months between funerals, while at other times there may be three funerals in one week. On average, there is about one funeral per month.
“We have about 10 volunteers who work together to prepare the meal for after the funeral,” Gloria says. “A couple of us go and purchase the food the day before and then we all gather to prepare everything, decorate the tables, and put together the drinks. We send the leftovers home with the family and we clean up afterward.”
Being a part of this group isn’t just about comforting those who mourn — it is also a valuable opportunity to be a faithful disciple who helps comfort the grieving and serve our parish family in times of need.
“Our volunteers are very active in the parish,” Gloria says. “We just love getting to be a part of this apostolate as well. We have formed a close friendship and getting to work together to help others is a great way to spend time together.”
For the families and friends who have lost a loved one, this apostolate provides them with an opportunity to slow down and spend time together in the midst of their mourning. This straightforward apostolate is an important part of hospitality, helping make our parish the caring and welcoming community it is. It also gives us the opportunity to welcome and evangelize others who attend a funeral, but who may not frequently come to church. Making them feel welcomed and provided for is a great witness of our faith.
Anyone who is interested in joining this apostolate may contact Gloria Hill at 719-209-2418.