May this New Year of 2021 truly be a year of grace and peace! I can hope, from hearing from so many parishioners recently and from my own experience of testing and health care, that even as specifically as we as a parish are beginning to develop some substantial herd/“flock” immunity!
These past several weeks – and this past week in particular – have seen the passing of a number of parishioners or relatives of parishioners. This included my own step grandmother as well. We have observed in a surprisingly regular manner “things happening in threes” with regards to deaths. This week was at least 3 x 3!
Please keep in mind a support group that has developed in our parish that has served many people as a bridge during times of grief, namely our Bereavement Haven. Because healing in the face of the loss of a loved one takes an indeterminate range of time – it is unique for each person, in other words – some members are facing the recent passing of a loved one, while other members have lost a loved one many years ago. Still, it is helpful to have a group of people in the same boat and who are familiar with the choppy seas of grief and bereavement.
Again, this group has been very ecumenical, having members from many area churches and denominations. And, the themes focused on during each monthly gathering means that someone could join in any month without having attended before or after several months away from the group. Finally, the amount of time as a participant in the group varies from person to person as well. The Bereavement Haven meets on the second Sunday afternoon of each month at 2:30 p.m. in the St. Benedict Social Hall. See you next week?
Well, what if? What if 2021 doesn’t mark an end to the confusing and unprecedented circumstances of 2020? What if a fair measure of information and demands that are political, medical and even in terms of our Catholic faith continue to add turbulence to our times even in 2021?
Hopefully, the effects of facing life in 2020 will bear fruit in us both individually and as a parish community so that we will be able to face 2021 with courage, generosity and even a surprising measure of joy! Troubled times throughout Church history have often been when some of the greatest saints have been raised up by the Lord.
So, may the Lord be the One, ultimately, who we turn to at the beginning of this new year for the grace and peace that we seek. We do indeed identify this as “the Year of Our Lord 2021.” May we experience life in Jesus Christ throughout this year as surprising us with a profound level of encouragement and joy and holiness!