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Viewpoint: The communion of saints

November 1st, 2015 Posted in Death & Resurrection, Opinion Tags: , ,

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November is an appropriate time for remembering in prayer those who have gone before us

 

In November we celebrate Thanksgiving, a national holiday when we gather as a family to thank God for all that he has given to us in our lives.

It is also the time of year that our church urges us to remember and pray for those departed loved ones who have been a part of our lives and to especially remember those faithful who may have no one on earth left to pray for them. Far from being a sad practice, the tradition of praying for the dead reminds us of the greatest mystery of the church, the communion of saints.

As Catholics we believe that the primary purpose of our life on earth is to know, love and serve God in this life so we can be happy with him in heaven. In other words, we are all called to be saints. God’s plan of salvation is for everyone to be reunited and happy together forever. Read more »

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Remembering the little ones: Annual celebration helps parents cope with the loss of their babies

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Catholic News Service

 

QUEBEC CITY — Cars continued to arrive in the parking lot of St. Cecilia Church, an unusual sight on a chilly and gray Saturday morning. A bit hesitant, the occupants slowly gathered in the church.

The crowd was mostly men and women in their 30s and 40s. Some were accompanied by children. Despite polite smiles and warm welcomes, the atmosphere was heavy.

They all had something in common: mourning the loss of a baby. Read more »

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Commentary: Looking back at the blessing of hospice care for the whole family

November 1st, 2015 Posted in Death & Resurrection

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Looking back more than three years, I would call them angels of mercy. At the time, as they sat at our dining room table, I probably thought of them more as messengers of death. The two women weren’t any sort of messengers, in fact. They had simply answered my wife’s request.

Earlier in the week, my wife had told her oncologist she wouldn’t be having a second round of chemotherapy to attack the cancer that had now metastasized to her lungs. The very likely complications, the horrid and debilitating side effects, weren’t worth the very slim chance of extending her life only a few months. Read more »

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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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