I spent today doing some follow-up with families who have lost loved ones recently. I find it a fulfilling ministry to check in with people after funerals and hospitalizations. So often grief comes in waves for people. No two people grieve in the same way. Some people stay busy visiting lawyers and banks to change names in important documents. Others take a trip to be near an adult child who lives out of town. Some retreat into solitude and spend time in church or the cemetery. One of our vibrant ministries is our bereavement group that organizes luncheons after the funeral, knits a shawl for those who are ill, plan our Annual Mass of Remembrance at All Souls’ Day. In the future some members will accompany Fr. Luke and me to wakes. Many years ago I remember a seminary staff member telling us to be kind to people when they are sick, grieving, and in need of help. Somehow this gives me more joy and meaning than many of the administrative tasks that go along with pastoring. Pray that I never forget what my seminary professors said many years ago.
Fr. Bob Hawkins