Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Embrace: A Ministry of Healing

One of the ministries that I have been involved in since I began formation to the Diaconate and now lead at my parish is the Bereavement Ministry.  This ministry reaches out to those who have lost loved ones and trying to put their life back together; to have meaning in their life.

But I recently went to a workshop that is taking this ministry to a new place; one that has been largely hidden in society but has wounds that do not heal.  Wounds that last a lifetime.

This is the loss of a prenatal child or one that leaves this world soon after taking their first breath.  The pain is real; the pain does not go away.  The loss affects more people than anyone can imagine and is ignored by society and in large part by many in the Church.

The need to address this issue was brought to the attention of our wonderful Archbishop Wilton Gregory.  When he heard the stories, he said something needed to be done.  He was quoted after hearing of this need that (and I am paraphrasing) that if we are truly a pro-life Church, we must acknowledge these lives and treat them with the dignity that they deserve.   And the Archbishop is doing something about it.

The Archdiocese now has a support ministry (EMBRACE) for those who have lost a child, whether it is but due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or sudden infant death.  They are providing a wide range of opportunities to address the loss.  When I mention the ministry, I have seen more tears come than I could have ever imagined.  It is obviously hitting on a need that has been ignored for too long.

At the end of this month, Archbishop Gregory will be the principal celebrant for a Memorial Mass (see below). 

This Mass will be to celebrate those lives; that they do matter; that your loss is real; and that the Church cares.

If you, or someone you know, has lost a child before you could say hello, consider attending this wonderful event.

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