As October winds down and we race into November thoughts turn to the holiday season, what with Thanksgiving followed by Advent, leading us into Christmas and the New Year. As a child it was a wonderful time with breaks from school, and family events. There were, and still are, the Charlie Brown/Peanuts specials, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, or A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Growing up we lived away from our extended family, so often these holidays were spent just with my parents and brother and sister. Traveling from Kansas, Missouri, or Oklahoma (depending on the year) to Michigan or Pennsylvania to spend the holidays with extended family was a special treat.
Most of the time those are fond memories, but in the past two years they have become bittersweet since losing my mother. Holidays changed to a certain degree when my grandparents passed, but the real jolt came when my mother passed. I don’t dwell on this because I recognize I am not alone in this. I’m not the first nor will I be the last to lose a parent. Death is a part of our humanity. But I certainly understand better though how the holidays can be tough for folks mourning the loss of a loved one.
To that end, there are several events coming up that touch on death and mourning. The first is on Wednesday evening, November 2. Archbishop Vigneron and Fr. J.J. will be celebrating the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, otherwise known as All Souls’ Day. Mass will be at 7:00 PM at the Cathedral. Even if you have not personally experienced a loss in the family or among friends, consider joining us to pray for the souls of the faithful departed.
The other event is a workshop titled Grieving with Great Hope. If you have experienced a loss recently, or not-so-recently, and are struggling, please consider attending this workshop. And the loss doesn’t have to be a family member or friend, it could be a pet, though many of us do consider our pets as family members. The loss of someone dear to us brings about many emotions and pain. Even Jesus wept at the death of his friend Lazarus.
The workshop is being held at the Cathedral, beginning the evening of November 18, and concluding on November 19. The workshop is led by John and Sandy O’Shaughnessy of Good Mourning Ministries. On Friday the 18th we will be meeting in the Cathedral from 7:00 to 9:00 PM. On Saturday the 19th we will be meeting in Room B (downstairs meeting room) from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. A light breakfast and lunch will be served. And we are blessed to have the workshop sponsored by Catholic Funeral and Cemetery Services which has helped us keep the registration down to $10 a person. You can get more information and register for the workshop right here.
The workshop is open to everyone: our Family of Parish parishioners, non-parishioners, and those who are not Catholic. So, if you have a friend or colleague who you think might benefit from this workshop, please be sure to share the information with them.
Mourning the loss of a loved one is different to everybody. The one thing though is, we don’t have to grieve alone. We can come together as a Catholic Christian community and our Mass on All Souls’ Day and the Grieving with Great Hope workshop are just two small ways we can support one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.
In the peace of Christ,