Bereavement Ministry is a lay outreach which addresses the works of mercy: to bury the dead and pray for the living and the dead as well as the admonition to comfort the sorrowing.
The grief work for the loves ones of the deceased begins with the making all the arrangements for the funeral and burial. The grieving process is sided when loved ones are involved in selecting the readings, hymns and participating in the funeral liturgy.
The Bereavement Minister, who has been certified through the Diocesan Formation for Ministry program, is contacted when a Mass of Christian Burial or Memorial Service has been schedules at St. Peters Church or St. Mary's Oratory. The family member who is handling the funeral arrangements is contacted by the Bereavement Minister as soon as possible after this notification, with condolences offered on behalf of the Parish Community. The offer is made to assist the family in planning the funeral mass. If the family chooses to be involved in this process, an appointment is made to meet with the family members at their earliest convenience.
Using Father Champlin's booklet, Through Death to Life, as the primary resource, the Minister assists the family in choosing Scripture readings and hymns that provide comfort and solace to them. Participation by family members is encouraged in placing the pall, reading the Scriptures, and bringing forth the gifts of bread and wind. Large print copies of the Scriptures and General Intercessions that will be read will be provided to allow readers to prepare the readings in advance.
For families unfamiliar with the church itself or particulars of the funeral liturgy, specific instructions and information are provided to dispel anxiety about their participation.
Throughout the first year of bereavement, the family of the deceased is remembered in daily prayer. Periodic follow-up through notes, cards and/or grief material is provided as needed.