At Saint Brigid we are blessed to have a vibrant ministry for widows and widowers. Many widows and widowers from our parish come together in our parish hall generally on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month for dinner, community and fellowship. They invite widows and widowers from other parishes. Many of these widows and widowers were married more than 30 or 40 or 50 years. During their marriages, they have lived; they have loved; they have served; they have forgiven. They remember the first time they met their spouses, their wedding day, the birth of their first child, and other important events in their marriages. They fondly recall the joy and warmth they shared with their spouses in so many special ways. They recall the many sacrifices they made as they journeyed together. They remember their love for their spouses, and now their spouses have passed.
The publication, “Northwest Catholic”, in an article by Sarah Bartel, reported that Pope Francis encouraged widows to spend their remaining years purposefully, growing in love and prayer. Our Holy Father stated, “The better we live on this earth, the greater the happiness we will be able to share with our loved ones in heaven. The more we are able to mature and develop in this world, the more gifts we will be able to bring to the heavenly banquet.” Ms. Bartel also stated in the article that, “Widows have an important place in the church. They have important work to do here, people to love and a witness to give. They have a difficult cross to bear, but a loving Savior to help them carry it.”
Recently we celebrated a Mass in our Day Chapel for the deceased spouses of our widows and widowers. Approximately sixty widows and widowers were in attendance. After the Mass, reflecting a fine example of collaborative ministry, the Men of Saint Brigid and the Knights of Columbus provided food and beverages, and served a special dinner for these widows and widowers. They also provided a musical band, and parishioner Pat Sallarulo sang for all present. The parish “Circle of Sisters” ministry prepared desserts.
We thank these groups and their leaders for their assistance on this wonderful evening as we reflect on the words of Our Holy Father and continue to strive to make our widows and widowers an integral part of our faith community.