When people experience the loss of a family member or friend, it can be devastating. It’s helpful to know that there are people there for you — someone to talk to or a shoulder to cry on. We know the Lord has called us to eternal life — the Resurrection gives us hope. But that doesn’t always make it easier for the surviving family members.
For about 25 years, our parish has had a dedicated group who stand ready to support families as they go through a loss — the Loss and Transition Ministry.
Currently, Chuck and Linda Hickey, Margaret Hardekopf, Dick Meyer, Dorothy Fleming, and Gail Neuman serve in this ministry. They meet with families who have gone through the death of a loved one to express sympathy on the parish’s behalf and help plan the funeral liturgy. Many details go into a funeral liturgy, and ministry members are there every step of the way.
This ministry also helps people connect to a parishioner at a time of great need.
“This helps connect them to our church,” says one ministry member. “Often they will share information and ask questions that they are hesitant to ask the priest.”
Ministry members find ways to connect with the family or surviving spouse long after the funeral. They make a point to visit after Mass and send cards for Christmas, Easter, All Souls’ Day, and on the anniversary of the death of the loved one. They are also just there for them to answer questions, no matter how much time has passed.
“We get many, many positive responses to this ministry,” says one member. “Families often thank us after they receive one of the cards we sent. Showing our sympathy helps families know we care about them.”
A remembrance Mass is held each year in November, the same month as All Souls’ Day. The Mass is coordinated by Loss and Transition Ministry members. All of the deceased members of our parish are honored, and those who died in the past year receive a special honor. Roses are handed out to the surviving family members.
“It makes me feel good that we can help someone who is feeling sad,” says one member. “It gives us satisfaction that we are doing God’s work.”
To learn more, or to become involved with the Loss and Transition Ministry,
please visit www.stjbsom.org/hospitality.