Pastor's Corner

2024 03-04  Widowed are encouraged to be vibrant members of our faith community.

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

We have many widows and widowers as part of our Saint Brigid faith community.  As reported in the publication, “U.S. Catholic”, the Catholic Church “has a long history of ministry to and by widows.”  The publication further notes that the Church’s “own long tradition of giving care to widows and receiving it from them suggests that we need to remember and celebrate the widows and widowers in our midst with more attention.”  The Church is aware of the need to truly appreciate widows and widowers, many of whom have lost their spouses after many years of faithful service to the Church.

At Saint Brigid, our widows and widowers are encouraged to be vibrant members of our faith community.  They are invited to come together to participate in our New Beginnings Ministry, a ministry formed for widows and widowers.  The group meets for dinner and fellowship, usually on the first Thursday of each month.  Members share experiences and memories.  In addition, at appropriate times of the year, they attend Mass for their deceased spouses prior to their monthly dinner.  Widows and widowers from other faith communities are also welcomed.

Many of us know someone in our community who is grieving at this time over the loss of a spouse.  We may know parishioners, friends, neighbors, relatives, and others who are in mourning.  As reported by Vatican News, Pope Francis stated that “widowhood is a particularly difficult experience.”

Widows, as well as widowers, may feel lonely and isolated.  They may have trouble coping after many years of being at the side of a loving spouse and sharing a life together.

In the spirit of Pope Francis, we can especially reach out to widows and widowers.  As Catholics, and as a faith community, most of us are usually attentive to those who have recently lost a spouse.  But as time passes, our attention may wane.  We are encouraged to be more aware that people grieve in different ways, and they grieve for different lengths of time.  At Saint Brigid, in addition to our New Beginnings Ministry, we have a Grief Care support ministry in which widows and widowers, as well as others who have lost loved ones, meet periodically during the year to discuss how they are coping with life after their loss.

We are encouraged to strive to become more sensitive to those widows and widowers who are truly grieving and assist them in their time of healing.  Maybe can we visit them on a periodic basis, or call them occasionally, or invite them to a Church or community function.  What may seem as small gestures by us may be viewed as thoughtful acts of kindness by them.  In these and many other ways, as a faith community, we can continue to answer our call to discipleship.

2024 03-10  The Feast of Saint Patrick
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