Hospitality and service are two pillars of stewardship that are exemplified by the Funeral Luncheon Ministry. Through this ministry, the Cathedral community extends a much-needed and comforting hand to its parishioners who are mourning a death in the family.
Parishioner Sharon Pope has volunteered in the Funeral Luncheon Ministry for over 10 years and has been the chairwoman for the past five years. She has seen just how much a simple act of serving lunch can impact the family and guests of a deceased parishioner.
“We provide a meal to the family and guests when there is a funeral at the parish,” Sharon says. “It is a way to help people in a time of need. It is a physical thing that we can offer to those who are mourning their loved one. Oftentimes, the luncheon is where the immediate family members of the deceased can sit and breathe for the first time after the death of their loved one.”
As Sharon points out, funerals often take place within a few days of the person’s death, and the immediate family members have many decisions to make and appointments to attend.
“By providing the lunch, it is one less thing that the family has to worry about and the families are all so grateful,” Sharon says.
The Funeral Luncheon Ministry prepares and serves dozens of luncheons throughout the year. Each lunch feeds large groups spanning 50 to 250 people. To prepare this much food from scratch takes many hands in the kitchen. The ministry currently has about 40 members who serve on an as-needed basis.
Once Sharon is notified that a funeral has been scheduled, she will connect with the family to develop the menu and discuss the number of guests. Once the menu is set, she enlists the ministry members to meet at the Cathedral about two hours before lunch is served to prepare the food. Additionally, others bake desserts at home, which are brought on the day of the lunch.
“Our typical lunch consists of ham or fried chicken, vegetables, salad, dinner rolls, and an assortment of cakes and desserts,” Sharon says.
Although the family covers the cost of the main food items, the ministry provides an excellent home-cooked meal for about $4.50 a person. Sharon reports that the ministry has received a lot of positive feedback on the quality and taste of the food.
“Anytime we help somebody in need, we are answering a call,” Sharon says. “This ministry can be a very moving experience. We often know the deceased person from the parish and it can be emotional.”
The members also form strong friendships as they put our faith into action.
“This ministry builds community,” Sharon says. “Through our service, we create bonds of friendship and grow in faith when we pray together before we start cooking.”
The ministry is always open to new members. All who are interested in joining are encouraged to indicate their interest during the annual Catholic Stewardship Renewal process each Fall or by contacting the Parish Office at 573-635-7991 or email@example.com.
For more information, contact Sharon Pope at 573-230-7526.