First Down (August 6, 2017)

Dear Friends,

A few weeks ago many of us heard the tragic news of ten members of a Valley family losing their lives due to a flash flood. This news was heartbreaking to so many people. Four children, seven years old and younger, a 12 year old, a 19 year old and four adults also lost their lives. This news disturbed our hearts and souls.

Many people inquired how they might help the families that were grieving, how they might remember their lives through their work places, their schools or their neighborhood. The news is filled with so many stories of violence, conflict, lack of respect for others, apathy towards the dignity of others which leads many people to feel

like all of society is awful, that people are uncaring or that evil is everywhere. Yet such a heartbreaking story of a family losing their lives reminded many of us that we are members of a human family. We are connected. In spite of many stories of bad behavior that seem to grab the attention of people, there really is more caring and concern that is left out of the headlines.

Our parish had the honor of having their funeral Mass. In meeting the families involved, I saw for myself the gratitude that this family had for so many. Thanking the many who helped rescue some of the family, thanking those searching to recover the bodies and sharing powerful stories of the family members who lost their lives. This tragedy brought out the best in so many people. So many wanting to do something, even the smallest acts of kindness were opportunities that people took to share their love to these hurting families.

One of the acts of mercy that comes from the scriptures is to bury the dead. In every Catholic home all should be aware that: the Mass of Resurrection is an act of mercy; we honor the gift of life that the person received from God; and, the entire Church sends forth our loved ones towards a merciful and loving God who knows the hearts of all.

These past few weeks our Parish has been asked to bury many people, and our Parish Clergy/Staff and Funeral Ministers/Hospitality have met this need by giving each family the dignity and hope of the Funeral Rites.

Funerals remind us that in such sad moments we can show that we are connected by our concern for those who have lost loved ones. This week we will all be reminded in news stories that people can do bad things, that people can be cruel and that we might come to generalize that people are really not good. I invite all parishioners to be people who honor the dead and comfort the grieving. These might be co workers, neighbors, extended family members, friends or even strangers. Look for ways that we can all practice this act of mercy – burying the dead.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric