Dear Colleague/ Parish Secretary/Pastoral Council Member/ Liturgy Group Member/Bereavement Group Member
November, the month of remembrance, has a particular significance this year. So many people in our communities have lived through bereavement without the usual support of community and often with the absence of family and close friends. Over two thousand families in our country have been bereaved through the coronavirus pandemic. The Irish Hospice Foundation who opened a bereavement help line during the lockdown report that there is a ‘tsunami of grief’ in our country.
Our church communities have an important role to play at the time of death and afterwards in supporting the bereaved. We thank our priests who have done their very best to support people through the difficult moments of funerals in particular.
Tomorrow, we mark the beginning of the month of remembrance with a liturgy in Ennis Cathedral at 3p.m. at which I will preside. On Friday 20th of November, the Diocese will celebrate a day of remembrance for all who have died this past year and especially remembering people in our country who have died because of COVID 19. This is an ecumenical day which will be celebrated by the Christian Churches in our Diocese. Further information and suggestions for this day will follow. A particular focus will be on asking people to pray at home at a designated time. We will provide resources for this in the coming weeks.
I ask and invite all groups within the parishes to help get this initiative off the ground. It might be the Parish Pastoral Council, a Parish Bereavement Group, a Youth Group or a Liturgy group who would see the possibilities of this and link the faith community with those who have lost loved ones during the year.
The attached pages prepared by those in the Killaloe Diocese training for the Ministry of Pastoral Care along with members of the DPC offer a menu of ideas which may assist parish pastoral councils/liturgy groups and bereavement groups in deciding what they can do during November and in preparation for the Diocesan Remembrance day. I draw your attention to the importance of making a connection from the parish community with those who have been bereaved and the different ways this can be done despite the present restrictions.
Parishes which have the possibility of live streaming will be able to hold their annual Liturgy of Remembrance but it will not be possible to have the community gathering for the blessing of graves. While priests will bless the graves themselves, this is also an opportunity to encourage family participation and prayer, inviting them to visit and bless the grave of their loved ones. A prayer text which can be used for this purpose is included with this email.
Sláinte agus beannachtaí,
✠ Fintan Monahan