Often we are unprepared for the enormous pain and sorrow we experience at the death of a loved one, whether a parent, child, spouse, other relative, or close friend.
Call the parish rectory immediately when your family member or loved one is near death or has passed away. First responders, healthcare providers, and nursing home staff will assist the surviving spouse or family member in contacting a priest. A person who is alone at home following the loss of their spouse, child or companion will need assistance from a relative, friend or close neighbor, especially in the initial hours, and especially if the situation is unexpected.
Often we do not know what to say to a person who has recently lost their spouse, child, or other loved one. Keep in mind that the person’s emotions, mind, and thoughts may be so overwhelmed and disorganized as to be paralyzing. Literally they feel helpless. There is no strength to do anything or even say anything in the vastness of the sorrow they are experiencing. Just know it is important for them to know they are not alone. Your presence is the gift, there is often nothing you can do except to be there with them in their time of loss.
Being there, offering a hug, even saying, “I do not know what to say,” will provide comfort. It is a blessing to accompany a person and allow him or her to mourn, shed tears, and express their deep pain and sorrow. Our faith brings comfort and joy knowing that Christ has triumphed over death, yet we still mourn and suffer when the person we love is no longer with us in the flesh. Let there be silence, or simply attend to the immediate necessary things.
Learn about the importance of bereavement and funerals when we are mourning the loss of our loved one. Our Catholic traditions, prayers and liturgies bring comfort and help us to find solace in our Catholic faith.
Many people have questions about Catholic rites and liturgies, and may be needlessly worried due to uncertainty about ways to remember, honor and pray for those who have died. The Catholic Cemetery Association website has a great deal of very helpful information about Catholic beliefs concerning death and dying.
Whether you choose a traditional casket burial or burial of cremated remains, a Catholic funeral Mass and graveside service can bring great comfort to surviving family and loved ones. Interment in a Catholic cemetery is not only for Catholics, but also for their non-Catholic family members.
Prayers of the Faithful
At Mass we offer prayers for our departed loved ones during the Prayers of the Faithful. You may add your loved one to these intentions.
Our parish Mass Intention book is available to schedule a remembrance, whether on the loved one’s birthday, anniversary, or other special date. (There is a donation of ten dollars for each Mass. Call the rectory to make arrangements to include your loved one in our parish Mass Book for one or more Masses during the current year.)
If you would like to reserve the Bread and Wine used at all Masses for a future month in memory of a loved one, living or deceased, the offering is $225.
You can book Mass intentions by calling or visiting the parish rectory (978) 372-7721.
Those of us who are grieving can support one another, and we also can rely on bereavement support groups and programs offered in our community. The parish staff and your funeral director will be able to refer you to resources.
Our Archdiocese has several ministries specifically to support those who are mourning the loss of a loved one. The Emmaus bereavement ministry is specifically for parents who have lost a child, regardless of the child’s cause of death, the age of the child, or the amount of time that has passed.