Pastor’s Letter, October 15, Fr. Longenecker

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

From time to time it is important to be reminded of the church’s ministry to the sick, the dying and the dead.

All of us are to be mindful of our deaths and the deaths of our loved ones, and it is a great comfort to know that the Good Shepherd walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death.

If you or a loved one are facing a serious surgery or a serious illness please contact the parish office and request one of the priests to visit and administer the sacrament of anointing. Please let us know. We are not blessed with telepathic gifts! Usually this will be done after a daily Mass and after a brief time of instruction, but Father Richard and I are also aware that there are times of emergency and we will do everything we can to be available for you should you or a loved one be involved in an accident or find yourselves in an emergency health situation. When the parish office is closed there is an answering service that will refer your call to us.

The parish prayer list is maintained regularly and if you have a prayer request for yourself, your family or a loved one please contact Martha Mahan at the parish office to have the name added. In addition, some folks in the parish have expanded the Divine Mercy Prayer Cenacle. They have a special calling to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet for the dying. If you know of a loved one who is near to death—pass the name to Martha and she will pass the name on to the folks in the Divine Mercy Prayer Cenacle.

If a loved one passes away we are here to help. Deacon Mike organizes funerals and internments and he will work with you. Your first call should be to Thomas McAfee funeral home. The McAfees are the local Catholic funeral directors. They will advise you on all the details and work with Deacon Mike to arrange the service.

The church now permits cremation as a funeral option. McAfee’s will advise on the best way forward with that procedure and Deacon Mike will advise on how to handle the funeral and internment. Remember we have a beautiful columbarium in the Lower Church for the internment of cremated remains. Martha Mahan can advise on how to secure a columbarium place. It is possible to purchase and reserve these places in advance, and it is not a bad idea to do so if you are planning your funeral arrangements.

After the death of a loved one it is important to pray for the repose of their soul. The usual way to do this is to have a Requiem Mass said for them—usually on the anniversary of their death. To have a memorial Mass said for your loved one Contact Martha Mahan at the parish office and she will advise you. It is customary to offer a small Mass stipend of about $20.00 as your part of the offering of the Mass. This is not mandatory, but customary.

While it is not a pleasant topic for me to write about, remember that death is a part of life and our Catholic faith prepares us for this reality, and one of our jobs as pastors is to assist the faithful in both life and death. If you have any questions about any of these matters, do not hesitate to be in touch.

Your pastor,
Fr. Longenecker