Saint Matthias the Apostle

Catholic Church

My first thought in writing this next grief note, is to wish you, the readers, a Happy Easter, A Happy Passover, and a Happy Springtime.  May these occurrences fill you with hopefulness and joy as you proceed through your grief  journey.

We will now look at one thing that could help us to move forward in grief.  Learning about all of the aspects of grief is very helpful to the person who is going through the process.  Fortunately, there are many wonderful books, articles, and periodicals that explore the many facets of grieving.  These are written by professionals who have specialized in grief education and grief counseling, as well as by persons who have walked the road of grief and choose to share their insights and learned experiences. Knowing what can possibly be of help to us in our journey is quite important.

Our libraries and bookstores, as well as articles on the internet, provide a vast amount of information on the topics loss and grieving.  Several decades ago none of that information was available to grieving persons, so we are fortunate indeed.

Some who are grieving may find it difficult to focus on or comprehend well information on the topic of grief.  This is so in the early months of grieving when there is a strong sense of dishevelment pervading one’s being.  Even some avid readers have lost that sense of comprehension early in grief.  That wonderful ability to enjoy books will return in time, however. In the meantime, choosing to read shorter articles or topics on grief that may be of interest is very helpful.  A lot of grief education of this type occurs in many Grief Support Groups. 

Caring friends will sometimes offer us books on the topics of grief and loss as a way of reaching out to us.  If you are not ready to read those books at the time they are received, just put them aside for a later date when they will become a treasure to you.

So, I invite you to learn more about grief from books, periodicals, and articles. They will provide you with gems of wisdom and a better understanding of your own grieving.

A funeral Mass will be held at St. Matthias the Apostle Church for Elijah Alexander on Saturday, April 22, 2017, at 9:30 a.m. Interment at Fort Lincoln Cemetery.
Viewing Friday, April 21, from 6:00-9:00 PM at Gasch’s Funeral Home, 4739 Baltimore Ave., Hyattsville, MD 20781

Grief Brief # 7 

This grief note will invite us to focus on multiple losses that we might face as we grieve. These can occur under three separate circumstances. We will consider each of them.

When we lose a significant other we focus primarily upon the loss of an important person in our lives. Our grief can be centered solely upon the loss of that person. Yet, there are many other secondary losses that are connected with our principle loss. Here is how that happens.

Having lost a spouse, we soon recognize that we have perhaps lost a partner, a soul-mate, a friend. We miss the planning, discussing, and decision-making we may have done jointly. Many responsibilities carried during our lives together by the absent partner are now solely ours, whether we are ready for them or not.

When a child dies, no matter what his or her age may be, we feel the loss of being a guiding and caring parent. We feel that we have been robbed of sharing the dreams, pursuits, or the special events like graduations, weddings, job promotions etc. that could have occurred in that child’s life.

When losing a friend, we miss the special sharing and companionship that was ours. Many a life secret or plan was shared with that person who is now absent from our lives.

These added losses, although sometimes discounted, can add to the burden of grief and mourning that a person can experience.

Another aspect of multiple losses takes into account personal tragedies or crises we may face along with the primary loss. These multiple losses can include: a serious illness that befalls us or a person in our family; some grave misfortune that has come to the life of a friend or family member like serious financial troubles, the loss of a job, an accident, etc. Included in this list are the losses that are consequences of natural disasters like floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, or the like. In all of these circumstances our primary grief, surrounding the loss of a deceased loved one, must sometimes be placed on hold temporarily until the new imposing situations are handled. We will grieve for our lost loved one, but only after the crises or significant problems are dealt with and somewhat resolved.

A third aspect of multiple losses weighs upon us when people we have known and cared about for years begin to die. The causes may be aging, illness, catastrophic occurrences that involve many people (ex.9/11, a significant flood), or acts of violence like shootings, stabbings, riots, accidents, suicides, etc. There is a need to choose well how many of these circumstances will call forth our concern, compassion, and personal caring. The burden of our own grieving process will limit the amount of emotional energy that we can invest in any of these circumstances. When we have grieved and healed adequately, we will have the emotional strength and stamina to get more fully involved in caring and reaching out to others.

Thus we see, from what has been described, that grieving can be multi-faceted. Choosing well where our focus, our attention, and energies are placed is very important so that our own healing is not unduly interrupted. The call is to care for our own grieving selves so that we in time may be able to reach out to others in a loving and caring way.

Joseph P. Makowski, long time parishioner, died Thursday, March 9, 2017, after a long illness. A Memorial Mass is scheduled for 1:00 PM on Saturday, March 18, 2017, at St. Matthias the Apostle Church, 9475 Annapolis Rd., Lanham, MD  20706.  The family will receive visitors from 12:00 – 1:00 PM before the Mass.

Bill Cooper, a long time parishioner, died last week. There will be a viewing at Saint Matthias Church on Tuesday, March 7th, from 10:00-11:00 AM.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 AM, followed by a burial at the Veterans’ Cemetery in Crownsville, MD,  Please keep the family in your prayers.

Hazel Campbell, a long time parishioner, died this past week.  There will be a viewing at St. Matthias Church on Saturday, March 4th, from 9:30-10:30 AM.  A Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 10:30 AM. Burial will be at Resurrection Cemetery in Clinton, MD, following the service.  Please keep the family in your prayers.

winter blues

Since the erratic winter months are upon us, perhaps we could look at the topic of the “winter blues”.

Cold gray days, the snow, and the bleak scenes in nature have a way of affecting our mood and emotional lives.  This is especially so when we are also facing personal tragedies, health crises, or the loss of loved ones.

The truth is that experiencing the holiday season (now thankfully over) and the bleakness of the winter months does not necessarily have to be a major problem for us.  There are some things we can do to lighten our spirits and cope a little better.  Here are a few suggestions that can brighten the days and offset the sad, lonely feelings that want to envelope us at this time.

  • Start with your thinking. A positive approach to a new day helps.  Decide early on that there will be something happening today that will make it a “good day”.  Look for that something!  Expect it!  Pray for its blessings!
  • Have an agenda for each day that will hold promising events, enjoyable encounters with others, or places to go, etc. Many or even one will do.
  • Reach out in love and caring to others. A kind word said during a telephone call, a smile or a warm greeting given to a person met, or  a listening ear offered to someone in need, can make the caring happen. As we give in love, love will be received and our spirits, no doubt, will be lifted. 
  • Take some time to reflect not only upon what has been lost and is being grieved, but also upon whom and what we still have left in our lives. This can bring a measure of happiness and peace.
  • At the end of the day be thankful for at least one “happening” that brightened the day and brought warmth to your heart. Be grateful and treasure it.     

So, let the winter months come!  Believe that some happiness can be found, despite whatever may be happening out of doors.                                                                                                               

Mass Times

Saturday Vigil
5:00 PM
7:00 PM (en español)

Sunday Mass Schedule
8:00 AM
9:30 AM
11:30 AM
6:00 PM
Daily Mass Schedule
Monday - Saturday
8:30 AM
Holy Days of Obligation
Mass Schedule

7:00 AM
12:00 PM
7:30 PM
*unless otherwise announced

Devotions

Adoration
Monday 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Confession
Monday 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Benediction
Monday 7:45 PM

Fr Jack’s Challenge