I don’t often report about our funeral ministry in the parish, however, we do have lots of funerals here with lots of ministry time being devoted to it. This past week we had three parish funerals. One of them was for Emma Roman.
Emma was an elderly adult living in an adult care facility in our parish over on Falling Meadows Drive. Someone called our attention to the need to visit her and others there, so we’ve had a Eucharistic minister there and occasional visits from a priest to the house. We anointed Emma about two weeks ago when we visited her and gave her as she was showing signs that she was getting very frail. Then the family called us and let us know that Emma has passed. then we worked with the family and funeral home and planned and then held the funeral for Emma. She was buried in Columbia at a cemetery where I went to on a Monday afternoon. It was a day of snow and swirling winds and flower petals all moving about in the weather, and Emma was laid to rest.
We hold funerals in Resurrection church and Riderwood Chapel, and have lay assistants who minister to the grieving and offer a welcoming presence at the Mass. Our music ministry staff also give a main effort and involvement in those liturgies.
Some families prefer funeral home or cemetery prayers only. We accommodate them. We also have some funerals that have a delayed burial. The Phillips family had such a delayed internment as they held it at Arlington national cemetery this past week. It was number 4 this week involving our parish but the ANC chaplain took it on.
We have some needs in this same area to serve our Cameroon Catholic Community here. We do what we can to host memorials and funerals for their members, even though many are not registered here. We do so because we became a welcoming community for their peoples, offering ethnic friendly liturgies here for them, which are not usually available at their home parishes around the area. Their funerals here have a Cameroonian style, closer to what happens in their homeland.
Fr. Barry with Fr. Osuagwu ( and our staff) take on all the parishioner’s deaths and related kin’s deaths with urgency and sensitivity.
To bury the dead is a primary work of mercy.
You, as a supporting parishioner, make it possible for this needed ministry to flourish.
When the time comes for you to need the parish to host a funeral for your immediate family, you will understand how vital it is to parish ministry life.