Catholic Church

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fr. jack's challengeIn the recent Year of Mercy, the Archdiocese of Washington forgave significant debt, which was owed by Saint Matthias Parish and School. This school year, the Archdiocese has awarded more than $100,000.00 in tuition assistance to our school families, as well as providing professional development for teachers and offering guidance in marketing and fundraising.

In order to partner fully in meeting the needs of our students, I will offer to the school an additional $300.00 of personal support, in addition to my regular offertory. I challenge 99 other parish and school households to join me in this one-time fundraising effort.

Our teachers and staff dedicate themselves to educating our children academically and spiritually. Please join me in supporting this important mission.

In gratitude, Fr. Jack




As we share this Grief Brief (#13), we will look at the concept of change. Grief and the healing it brings will cause our hearts, minds, and souls to change with the changes that can aid us in moving forward with our lives.
Most people, especially those in the middle and latter phases of life, would prefer stability without a lot of change. They seek the “tried and tested” as opposed to innovation. When we grieve, however, change is imposed upon our lives. This occurs not in radical ways that diminish who we are, but in ways that develop new aspects of our person and lives.

Many authors who write about grief, loss, and the grieving process refer to the term “the new normal” which points to the adulterations that grief imposes and must be slowly accepted. As we describe these we learn:

• Grieving requires that a person look at one’s attitude each day that grief is unfolding. Beginning a given day with an attitude of pessimism sets the tone for the whole day. When one is convinced that nothing will go well and that sadness will pervade the whole day, that is exactly how things will play out. Questioning how one can go on without that special person makes going forward more difficult. A special prayer, an inspiring quote, a bit of soft music, or a request to one’s Higher Power for strength can adjust a negative attitude to be a more hopeful one.

• Reviewing one’s priorities while grieving can also lead one to consider needed changes. Formerly, one’s job or status, one’s income and personal pursuits were the major focus, whereas in the world of grief these priorities become less important. What becomes important, however, is one’s faith or spirituality, one’s God, one’s close family, good friends who will support and listen, one’s health, and a life that will bring purpose and meaning once the healing of grief has occurred.

• Going through grief’s emotional pain, loneliness, and sadness provides the opportunity to grow in strength, wisdom, and new insights. When one undertakes what was considered difficult or impossible and succeeds self-confidence is sparked. Navigating through necessary paperwork, finances, garden and household chores decision-making, etc. can challenge feelings of ineptitude and bring a sense of achievement, as well as pride. One also changes and grows as one seeks to discover a sense of purpose and meaning for one’s life. As healing completes the major part of the grief process there is a sensed need to reach out in caring to others in a meaningful way. All of the new pursuits and changes in the lives of grieving people are exactly what their deceased loved ones would wish for them.

As this grief note concludes I would like to inform my readers of an up-coming “Pre-Holiday Workshop” that will be offered at St. Matthias school on the Saturday before Thanksgiving (10 AM – 12 Noon). The session will assist grieving persons to face the holiday season with some degree of ease and grace. All will be welcome to attend.

Parish Social Life Committee

Thanks to all parishioners who participated and contributed to the successful Installation of Fr. Jack as Pastor of St. Matthias Church. A special thanks to all members of the PSLC for hosting another successful event. Our next meeting is Friday, October 6, 2017, at 6:30 PM, in the Hughes Center.

Viewing: St Matthias Church—-Friday, Sep, 22, 2017, 2.00PM to 4.00PM and 6.00PM to 8.00PM

Funeral Mass: St Matthias Church—-Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, 10.00AM 

Repast: St Matthias Hughes Center directly after Mass

Cemetery: Resurrection, Clinton, Maryland.

Donation: Make donations to St. Matthias Church in lieu of Flowers

As we face grief and the grieving process it is important to be aware that we are holistic human beings. Consequently, grief will affect the physical, emotional, and spiritual components of who we are.
Persons who ignore the need to grieve may sometimes be alerted by some physical problems that erupt. It is not unusual that chronic physical ailments like back issues, digestive problems, unstable blood pressure or diabetes are exacerbated by the stress of loss. This is so especially when the need to grieve a significant loss is ignored.

In this grief brief we will look at the spiritual part of our being. It is certainly affected and stirred by loss. Persons who have a strong relationship with their God or Higher Power will lean more heavily upon the comfort and strength that that relationship provides. When human strength, expended by grieving, begins to exhaust, there is a turning to the Divine for the help needed to cope and heal in this long, difficult process that we call “grief”.

Some may have the relationship with their Divine Power shaken by the loss. This can occur when prayers have been forthcoming, asking for a cure, a turn-around in the illness, or just more time with the loved one. When that doesn’t happen and death does occur, there may be disappointment and even anger that divine intervention was not available. These outcomes may well be reversed in time as the grieving person comes to realize that divine guidance and help are real needs as one grieves.

Persons who don’t profess adherence to an established religious group, church, or sect may pursue some other source of needed comfort and strength as they grieve. They may turn to a mentor, a wise and admired friend, or to books that have always provided them with inspiration and needed wisdom. Others may explore the spiritual principles that they have upheld throughout their lives to be the roadmap or guide for moving forward in grief

No matter what the source, when spiritual needs are felt, grieving persons can reach for the spiritual guidance and support they need to help them to better cope with their grief and loss.

 

As mentioned in the last Grief Brief, I would once again like to extend to any persons who have experienced loss and are grieving, the invitation to join the Grief Support Group that is held weekly at St. Matthias the Apostle Parish. The group will resume its weekly sessions on the second Saturday of September (9/9/17) and new members are welcomed. The group meets in the school library (St. Matthias School) at 9 AM. The address is 9475 Annapolis Road in Lanham, MD 20706. If anyone would like more information feel free to contact: Miriam Jacik, the Grief Coordinator at (301) 345-6054.

Save the Date

Saint Matthias the Apostle parish invites you to join us as we celebrate the installation of Father Jack Kennealy as pastor on Sunday, September 17th at the 6:00 PM Mass. Father Jack will be installed by Cardinal Wuerl.

After the Mass, the Parish Social Life Committee will host a reception with light refreshments in Friendship Hall. All are welcome.

One of the issues that arises for people as they grieve is the subject of closure.  Some well-meaning persons in our society (that may include some family members and friends) would have us bring the process of grieving to a close at some point along the journey of grief.  They are yearning to see and relate to the “old us”- the one who is socially engaged, ever ready to reach out and help others, etc.  The changes that grief effects upon a person doesn’t necessarily let that happen.  The “old us” becomes a “new us” with values and life goals that have been re-processed and re-prioritized to create a “new normal” state of being.

The question, then, is : “Is there closure after a loss?”  There can  and should be some closure to the experiences  of deep pain, longing, and missing.  Staying with these feelings inhibits the moving forward that one needs and that the deceased persons  would desire for us.  Pain softens in time only to be renewed in a more gentle manner when special occasions remind us that someone very dear is missing from our midst.

One never forgets, however, what was.  Love is still there, memories are still there,  and both will always be in the minds and hearts of those who grieve.  Therefore, there can’t  be true closure in grief.

Another form of closure spoken about and related to grief occurs when  family and friends have the realization that their loved one has truly died.  This happens during the uncertainties of war and natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, as well as accidents, etc.  With this certainty the beloved can begin their grieving process.

So, we will conclude this grief message with the assurance that in most circumstances grieving will not entail a final period of dismissal or closure.   As long as loving memories of our deceased persons  persist throughout our lives in our hearts and minds they are with us, never to be forgotten.


On a completely different note I would like to extend to any persons, who have experienced a loss and are grieving, the invitation to join the Grief Support Group that is held at St. Matthias the Apostle Parish.  The group will resume weekly sessions on the second Saturday of September (9/9/17) and new members are welcomed.  The group meets in the school library  {St. Matthias School} at 9 AM. The address is 9475 Annapolis Rd. in  Lanham, MD 20706.  If anyone would like more information feel free to contact:  Miriam Jacik, the Grief Coordinator at (301) 345-6054.

You, dear reader, are no doubt involved in moving through a grieving process, or would like to be doing so. You have sustained some significant or personal loss. To fully engage in grieving your loss or losses you probably would want a fuller understanding of what that process entails.
To grieve is to journey through a process that evokes sadness, aloneness, tears, and missing (someone or something important to you), remembering the true worth of who or what was lost, and discovering how to go with one’s life beyond the loss. Perhaps we can now look more closely at each aspect of grieving.

Sadness becomes the companion to one who has lost someone precious to him or her. Sadness can be intense for weeks and months after the loss occurred. Tears very often accompany the sadness and they beg to be released as often as necessary. Tears bring release and relief to the aching heart. They need not be stifled. However, for the person who doesn’t cry or cries very little after a significant loss, there need not be undue concern. He or she is experiencing a keen sense of loss and sadness in a slightly different manner that doesn’t include tears. None-the-less that person is grieving.

Aloneness is felt when a soul-mate, a life companion, and a true friend is lost. In death a connection still exists, but it is more spiritual than physical and tangible . Periods of personal illness or crises of any sort will cause the grieving person to feel more alone than ever, truly sensing the absence of the loved one.

The griever misses intensely the person with whom he or she has shared life and love over many years, or perhaps only a few. Much love and deep caring have been given and received. Thus, there is a sense that much has been lost as a result of the death. Fortunately, there are the memories.

Remembering is an important part of the journey through grief. There are pictures, memories, and mementos to keep the remembering alive for a long time. Hopefully these carry through one’s whole lifetime. In early grief (the first 6-7 months) remembering is hard because it brings forth sadness and tears. But, as weeks and months pass wonderful memories of times shared float into one’s consciousness and in time replace the more painful memories.

As one moves through the grieving process, the sadness, tears, aloneness, and missing (already mentioned) are accompanied by more intense feelings with which one must grapple. They are a part of the grief process and must be looked at and experienced before they can be put to rest.

In time, one must discover how to go on. One looks at how to have renewed purpose and meaning for one’s life. Remembering that this would be the desire of the deceased loved one is important. He or she would want those left behind to have a full, rich, and healthy life for however long it would be. New dreams, new undertakings, health and happiness, as well as expanded relationships are all a part of the wishes and desires they would have for us.  

The grief journey is long and hard, but taking it day by day makes it feasible. With the support and caring of friends, family, and our God, it can be successfully undertaken. Healing of body, mind, and spirit will be the expected outcome.

The Parish Social Life Committee would like to thank all parishioners who attended Fr. Milt’s retirement celebration, Sunday, June 4, 2017. Special thanks to volunteers who donated treasure, food, and time to make this occasion a success, and to the Knights of Columbus for their logistical assistance for the event. We are grateful to all members of the PSLC for putting together a great event: Fr. Canice Enyiaka, Debbie Self, Zita Givens, Arlene Taylor, Jackie Bates, Rosario Andres, Evelyn Andres, Myr- tle Reeves, Ramon and Esperanza Lomosbog, Melba Adams, and Thad Ereme.

Grief Brief   #9

One of the difficult aspects of grieving is dealing with the strong feelings that emerge during the grief process.  Among those known to most grievers are: sadness, loneliness, missing the person lost, anger that they are no longer a part of one’s life, and guilt over what one believes should or could have been done for the loved one.  Hindsight becomes quite keen while one is grieving.  Self-blame, regret, and guilt easily follow.

Anger may extend beyond self or the loved one to anger at God, who after all, could have spared the person for several more years, giving him or her wellness. Anger at medical personnel in our health care system can also arise when we believe that they could have tried harder to save the person or to have given better care.   Anger may also be extended to the person who died, especially if one feels that self-neglect was a causative factor in an earlier than desired death.

As feelings emerge they have a power of their own which will certainly increase if the feelings are repressed or denied.  Looking at feelings and trying to understand what they are conveying to us is quite important. Taking the time to see the reality of what one feels, talking about those feelings with a trusted other, or writing them out gives an escape of them from our inner world.  Of course this process cannot be done just once.  The feelings will emerge several times over until they dissipate and one can let them go.

Whenever strong feelings emerge during grief they require a process of forgiveness for needed healing to follow.  Forgiveness is extended to anyone considered to be complicit in any aspects of the loss.  When forgiveness of whomever, including self, is hard in coming there is a need to pray for the ability and strength to forgive.  Then, peace can follow.

Remember that holding on to unforgiveness or any of the strong feelings that emerge during grief will also lead to an undue toxic burden of spiritual and emotional unrest and unhappiness to be carried throughout one’s life. Therefore, a word of wisdom is to visit and process the feelings. 

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