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Viewpoint: Catholic funeral rites are corporal and spiritual works of mercy

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In recent years, the church leaders have wisely expressed deep concern over the growing lack of respect surrounding funerals and the proper care for the earthly remains of the faithful departed.

Our religion has always been countercultural and will remain so. At the core of Roman Catholic practices surrounding the departed is the reality that prayer for the dead is a spiritual work of mercy and burying the dead is a corporal work of mercy.

It’s good to remember that the glory of Christ’s resurrection was first revealed to those on a mission of mercy to the tomb to wash and anoint Jesus’ body in accordance with Jewish burial customs. Read more »

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Viewpoint: Accompanying others in their time of grief

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In late 2012, when we knew my wife, Monica, had only a short time to live because of uterine cancer, people began asking me if I planned on writing a book about widowhood and grief after she passed away.

I told them no, explaining that I didn’t know enough about those topics. It was about a year after her death that I realized I had been through a crash introductory course on the subjects. I still had a lot to learn, but I did know a thing or two. Read more »

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Navigating the holidays after the death of a loved one

October 28th, 2011 Posted in Death & Resurrection Tags: ,

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When most people think of holidays and special occasions, they envision themselves among family and friends.

But what happens when death strikes and someone is faced with spending a holiday without a loved one?

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Hard lessons of living, dying and grief

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Catholic News Service

Hundreds of years ago, our Christian forebears sought to learn to die well. They even wrote guidebooks about the art of dying (“ars moriendi”), hoping to inspire others to achieve a sense of spiritual completion and fulfillment at life’s end.

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What to say to those who grieve

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Helping others cope with their grief is difficult, even if you have experienced your own tragic loss, but knowing what to say or what not to say can help you comfort the griever without putting him or her in additional pain.

“I think the cliches we use to try and comfort people puts a burden on them by requiring them to be strong, to not cry and to move on with life when they are in the middle of an incredibly difficult part of grief,” said Maureen Waldron, associate director of the Collaborative Ministry Office at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.

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The value of a viewing and praying for the dead

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As a youngster I experienced the deaths of my paternal grandmother, a cousin who was killed in an automobile accident and a babysitter from my neighborhood who was killed in Vietnam. Of course, my parents required me to go to the viewings as a sign of respect for those people who were a part of my life. I did as I was told, but I never saw much sense in looking at a dead body. Over the years I attended many wakes and always wondered the same thing, why is it so important that we view our dead before burial?

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October 18th, 2011 Posted in Death & Resurrection

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