When a family member faces the death of a loved one, the grief and loss can be overwhelming. The immediate time after a loved one’s passing can also be challenging as the tasks of planning the funeral and coordinating all of the details are so overwhelming, as well. In addition to the assistance that the parish gives to help families navigate this difficult time, the women’s prayer group at the parish takes the time to send sympathy cards to family members of our parishioners that have passed away. This simple act of sending a card just lets the family members know that their loved one was a valued member of our parish.
“The ladies in our prayer group have been meeting together for many years,” says Dodie Kollhoff, a member of the Wednesday evening women’s prayer group. “When Sister Stefana retired, we took on this part of her ministry because we are a part of the parish and when someone loses a loved one, we want them to know that we are praying for them and keeping them in prayer. It is hard to lose a loved one. We are a community of people and we care about each other. We want to make sure that they know that.”
“When you lose someone, there is a big hole in your heart,” adds Cathie Jacobs, another member of the group. “It is comforting to know that someone is thinking of you and praying for you during this difficult time.”
The group is comprised of about 20 women. They fill out the cards and keep them in a box. Each month, one member is in charge of the box and will send out the cards to the loved ones of parishioners who pass away. The group receives the names of the family and contact information from the parish office so that they can send out the cards. The members have been doing this for about five or six years.
Reaching out to others and extending a loving hand doesn’t have to be time-consuming or complicated. Those experiencing grief can feel very lonely or isolated, and this is a simple way to remind them that they are part of a community that is walking along with them.
“Jesus told us to love each other and care for each other,” Dodie says. “We just want those who have lost someone to know that they are not forgotten and they are being prayed for. Our hearts go out to them. Sometimes we do know them personally and others we don’t. Regardless, we still care about them and what they are going through.”
This loving act of charity may be simple but it is an important role within the parish community to reach out and console those who mourn.