Behind the Scenes, Funeral Outreach Ministry
By Leo Wozniak
While not a time of joy, it’s often a part of our experience, and that is the death of someone close within our family. No matter how often we feel we are prepared for all the decisions that must be made, we find ourselves looking to others for some guidance.
That kind of very important personal help is available here in our parish, beginning with a call to Shelly McBride, Pastoral Care Coordinator, who arranges a meeting with family members to discuss their particular needs.
“During this time,” Shelly says, “we assist the family in planning the funeral service with scheduling the date and time, selecting the place for the service, either in the Chapel or main Church, and selecting readings and music for the service.”
“We also discuss special items they would like displayed, such as photographs, mementos and, perhaps, a guest book.”
Arriving an hour before the funeral, the Funeral Outreach ministers are there to welcome family and guests, perform liturgical duties that are specific for funerals and provide worship aids.
After the funeral, the ministers remove necessary items and assist the family with flowers and other items.
If needed, liturgy readers and Eucharistic ministers are provided for the service
Shelly says that the “main purpose of the Funeral Outreach ministry is to be present for the family, show compassion to grieving family members and friends and, in some small way, share the burden of the loss.”
A separate ministry at the parish, Funeral Brunch, is available if the family wishes to have a reception after the service.
Shelly adds that there is also a “follow up with the family of the deceased for one year after the service with quarterly booklets to assist with grief as well as cards for specific holidays.”
“Also, an All Souls Vespers Service is offered each year for the families who have lost loved ones during the year.”
Funeral notices are sent to parishioners notifying them of funerals, in the event they know the family and would like to attend and keep the family in prayers.
Volunteers in the ministry see their involvement as an important part of their lives.
Helen Wetzel, a volunteer, says “I feel that I have been called to offer myself to this ministry. Each time I serve, I feel blessed to be able to offer support and assistance to families going through this most difficult time.”
Other members of the ministry are Barbara Cole, Mary Collins, Maxine Herberger, Barbara Hernandez, Rosie Plant, Marilyn Reed, Maryanne Saw, Connie Schwartz, Carol Sciame, Beth Stucks and Theresa Stoddard.
The need is great for more Funeral Outreach ministers. If you are looking for a way to help families during a difficult time, please contact Shelly McBride in the parish office.October 5, 2017