A new year has begun, the holidays have come and gone, and we who have known loss and are grieving, wonder about what is next. What will the new year bring to our lives? Will there be continued sadness and the keenly-felt sense of loss? Can there be some reprieve?
As grief unfolds and continues to be experienced, it can lighten in intensity. The mere passing of time, however, will not bring about this outcome. It is the work and the efforts one expends in processing one’s grief that will result in needed healing and peacefulness. Healing leads to the relief of the intense sadness, the missing, and the sense that one couldn’t possibly go on and know happiness without the loved one who has died. None of this happens in rapid fashion none-the-less.
People go through their grieving and healing processes in an individual time frame and in their own personal manner. Short cuts, however, will interrupt the on-going process of healing. Comparing one’s progress with that of another is not helpful. Comparisons preclude the fact that we are all individuals, with our own personal histories and rate of grieving.
We read and learn about some basic ways of moving through grief, but as alluded to, we each have our own manner and time frame for doing that. We’ll take this opportunity to refresh our understanding of the grief process. What can or should one do to pass successfully through it?
First and foremost is the need to accept the fact that sadness and a deep sense of missing will occur after a significant loss. We cry, we talk about the emptiness felt in our lives, and question our own ability to go on without the deceased loved one. We accept the challenges that come our way early on, and rejoice over our successes in assuming unfamiliar or difficult tasks. Also, we look at priorities so we can ascertain what will now be important components of our lives. Family, friends, our health, our religious beliefs, and our God hold precedence for many. We look at difficult feelings like anger, regret, guilt, etc. and speak of them with trusted others so we can eventually let them go. And lastly, but not least of all, we reminisce. We remember the place our deceased loved one held in our lives. We express deep gratitude for the many ways they have touched and enriched our lives by being who they were for us.
It is important to remember that the sad memories of the grief process will be felt on special occasions throughout our whole lives, but the sad, painful memories soften over time. They are not as difficult to experience as they were in the early days and weeks of grieving.
A new year has begun! We can realize that with the healing energy acquired during past months of grieving we are better prepared for new undertakings, new pursuits, and a new future awaiting the “renewed and healed us”.
Funeral arrangements for Beulah George, mother of George Stewart: Wednesday, January 17th, at the Breath of Life SDA Church in Fort Washington, Maryland. Visitation will begin at 10:00 a.m. with the funeral following at 11:00 a.m. Our condolences and prayers go out to the family.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held for Delores Richardson on Wednesday, January 17th at 10:30 AM at St. Matthias the Apostle Church, 9475 Annapolis Road, Lanham, Maryland. Burial will take place at a later date in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. Our condolences to the family.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held for long time parishioner, Celestine Scindian on Saturday, January 13, 2018, at 9:30 AM at St. Matthias the Apostle Church located at 9475 Annapolis Road, Lanham, Maryland. Burial will follow at Parklawn Cemetery located at 12800 Veirs Mill Road, Rockville, Maryland. Our condolences to the family.
On November 29th the torch from the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City stopped at our parish. We celebrated Mass in Spanish before our guests left to take the torch to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City arriving on Dec 12th.
Sunday, December 24, 2017 Christmas Eve
8:00 AM Mass
9:30 AM Mass
11:30 AM Mass
6:00 PM Mass
10:00 PM Mass with Carols before Mass
Monday, December 25, 2017 Christmas Day
8:00 AM Mass
11:30 AM Mass
1:30 PM Spanish Mass
Confessions are held Monday evenings
Thursday, December 7, 2017: 7:30 PM Vigil Mass
Friday, December 8, 2017: 7:00 AM, 9:15 AM (School Mass), 12:00 PM, 7:00 PM (Spanish)
Now that the Thanksgiving holidays are upon us, we are drawn by a spirit of gratitude that speaks to us. Too often, however, we look around at our world and our lives, and foremost in our minds is not that which is enriching us and bringing us joy, but rather at that which we have lost. Someone significant to us will not be at our Thanksgiving dinner table. The gathering of family for the holiday weekend makes us keenly aware of the fact that someone very special will be absent for all of the sharing and fun that holiday get-togethers can bring.
We do have a choice about how we can keep the memory of our deceased loved ones alive and with us. This may entail including the missing persons, by name, in our blessing before the Thanksgiving meal. In the toast that may be a part of our meal, the names of our loved ones might also be mentioned. Sharing stories of holidays past will most assuredly have those who are gathered remembering and recalling memories that inevitably include the absent loved ones. These are both memorable, as well as humorous. Before very long, our loved ones’ stories and anecdotes are a part of the conversation. Somber or cautious feelings lighten significantly. Those who have been trying to avoid their own sadness or tears, as well as fearing to provoke sadness in others, may soon be laughing and smiling as everyone shares and reminisces.
It does take a bit of courage to start such sharing, and thus it requires the bravest among us to be the initiators. It is good to recognize that the positive results of the endeavor far outweigh any negative or foreboding feelings one may have in being the “initiator”. I would encourage any or all of the practices that were just suggested because I know that they work.
As indicated earlier, the Thanksgiving holidays invite us to be thankful. Taking some quiet time to consider how the special persons who were a part of our lives have enriched them is important. We have been graced by their presence for varying numbers of years. During that time the memories of who they were for us remain. We remember that they had qualities that we have always admired and would choose to emulate in our own lives. We take the time to thank them for having brought the gift of themselves into our world and into our personal lives.
Thankfulness for those who still remain with us is also very much in order. We share love and support with each other as we gather on special occasions like the holidays. We acknowledge that we are able to heal and move forward in our grief journey because of the love and support of these dear persons.
May our good and gracious God shower His blessings upon each of us as we experience this holiday and the next ones that will soon follow.
Please join us for our Mass of Thanksgiving Thursday, November 23rd at 8:30 a.m.
May you have a blessed and happy day.
Father Jack & Father Canice