We have had several funerals this month and
we are just at the half way point and we
have had several baptisms so far this
month…all of this is good news, good news
that we are available to people and able to
help them encounter Christ in the details of
One of our Synod projects was to develop an
all-volunteer bereavement ministry and, I am
happy to tell you, we have done just that
but given the number of families that we are
most likely going to be called upon to
provide service and ministry to when they
have sadness and death enter their lives.
So please give some consideration to
offering a bit of your time and your care to
some dimension of this ministry.
Not everyone would find it easy to sit with
grieving families and listen to their
stories and help them plan a meaningful
funeral liturgy which is not so much as
celebration of a life, although it can be
that, but is an act of faith in a very
imperfect and, often sad and unfair world,
an act of faith that we are, indeed, more
than health care consumers but beloved
children of a very silent and, seemingly
remote, God, especially when we get to the
edge of life.
We need ordinary men and women to offer
simple hospitality to those who come here
for a funeral. You greet kindly, listen
carefully, and are attentive to the need to
know where the lavatories are or the
Simple but incredibly important to make a
funeral that is human and not merely
If you have any inclination, please call
Debbie Lund in our business office,
Another synod project was to try and
implement the teachings of Pope Francis in
his encyclical, Laudato Si, in which
he redirected our moral focus to concerns
about the totality of our environment and
the inter-relatedness of all creation in the
image and likeness of the Creator.
To that end, we have replaced all of our
gasoline powered lawn and grounds
maintenance vehicles with electric and
propane powered equipment.
We added more garden space and will expand
our spring plantings beyond corn and
sunflowers to wheat and grapes.
As we look to the future, I see a real need
to try and create some kind of ministry to
the families who attend to loved ones in the
various health care facilities that abound
in our neighborhood.
Patients and residents have traditionally
received pastoral services but I think that
families who attend to the patients and
residents need some attention. They have to
be exhausted, pulled in many directions with
all kinds of people to take care of and no
one to take care of them. I am sure many of
them have lots of angers and guilt issues
that take the life out of them.
If you have any ideas or thoughts in this
regard watch the bulletin because if I get
enough interest to just talk about this, we
will move more intentionally toward some
kind of ministry.
In a related issue, the Catholic Tradition
of “Last Rites” or “Extreme Unction” still
resonates in the minds of people but the
chances of that happening as imagined is
growing more and more remote which is why
the more pastorally sensitive idea of “The
Sacrament of the Sick” is properly the wider
and deeper theology of Catholic Tradition.
Of course, I will come whenever I am able to
take care of a sick or dying person, but we
do not have a priest on standby 24/7, so the
more time you allow for the Sacrament, the
more likely it will happen as you want it to
Waiting until the last minute and hoping to
get a priest is not a good idea.
Personally, I am direction challenged and I
do not drive anywhere after dark unless I
know exactly where I am going. So please
call, sooner rather than later.
I am reading and studying to try and
understand sickness and aging in a more
human and holistic context based on a better
understanding of the Gospel stories as we
have this weekend.
I am looking for language that helps me
understand and, hopefully, experience my own
path of diminishment, not as a surprise, a
punishment for sin, or an unfortunate ending
to an, otherwise, great life.
I think that it is a tragic waste of our
lives that our endings are seen almost
without exception as expensive medical
opportunities for the health care industry.
I believe that there have to be ways to turn
our aging, dying, and death into gifts that
we give rather than the terribly costly in
every imaginable way, the “battles” that
they are becoming.
The idea of death is fascinating to us, as
long as it is not our death, but the reality
of our own death is more certain than
anything else in our lives.
Very little attention has been given in
Catholic Tradition to the humanity of death
and dying other than “reward/punishment
scenarios” and as my generation of baby
boomers goes the way of all flesh the
potential for chaos is very high.
I expect, given the pathological grandiosity
of my generation, that we will see massive
spikes in suicide and suicide/murder rates
as we baby boomers decide that we aren’t
going to see all of our money go down the
drain of nursing homes and health care.
On the other hand, many of us will hang on
as absolutely long as we can because we have
never experienced a “loss” only “wins” and
we aren’t going down without a big fight.
Deacon Phil spoke of a book by Parker
Palmer, On the Brink of Everything,
last weekend at Mass and he intends to offer
some kind of study or reading of this book
in Lent, I believe.
Look for his announcement as we get closer