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A grieving mother plans to welcome others “home” this Easter

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One year after her son's death, the author finds a way reach out to others in support and welcome

As the first anniversary of my son’s death approaches, I have been trying to find a way to dust away the grief that has characterized my writing for the past year. I have been writing about suicide, trauma, grief and sexual assault almost nonstop, and I’ve felt badly for those reading me, who must wonder if anything good happens in my life.

And of course, good things do happen – are happening – in my life, and perhaps it is time to give myself permission to write about it. By that I mean this past year has almost felt like if I did not keep writing about the pain, I was somehow dishonoring Anthony and his memory.

So, I have been trying to come up with other ways to honor my son, ways that are positive and constructive, and have something good to do for the living. Thanks to one of the “good things” that is happening in my life, I have finally found one way to do this.

The good thing is that Anthony’s fiancee, the mother of his two girls, is coming into the Catholic Church this Easter. Not only will we celebrate a new Catholic in our number, but it will happen as we celebrate Christ conquering death for all of us.

Being received into the Church at the Easter Vigil of 2010 was one of the best nights of my life, and as I recalled all the love and support that I was surrounded with on that night, I realized I wanted Ariana to have that same kind of experience. That’s when the wheels began turning. A party is a must. I planned that and invited people, so that was done. But I still had this itch to do something else, and that’s where honoring Anthony’s memory came in.

“What if I made her a Welcome Home basket?” I thought and then the Holy Spirit took over. I know it was the Holy Spirit because as soon as the idea came, so did the names of all the people I knew I could reach out to, who would help make it happen.

So far, I have assembled for Ariana the Catholic Journaling Bible, books from by a variety of kind Catholic authors, and rosaries. There will also be some stickers and a mug from Door Number 9. I will also be including letters of welcome and wisdom from some of the very talented and gifted Catholic bloggers I know, to be saved for times down the road – we all have them – when our walk with God feels difficult.

I have other requests out there, so more will be added.

My goal is to create a basket that is full of support and wise words for people beginning their Catholic journey.

I’m writing this to share the suggestion with others. If your parish has a group of Catholics coming into the church this Easter, why not create a “Welcome Basket” group to have this gift ready for the big day? You could ask people in your church to donate new rosaries, good books, holy cards, small icons or statues and such to build these gift baskets in time for the Easter Vigil! Perhaps ask the First Communion class to make cards of welcome to include, and older parishioners to write those wise letters? You might get so many notes and cards that you can save some to send out to new families when they register!

I like this idea so much that – in honor of my son’s memory – I am putting together a giveaway on my own blog, for other women coming into the Church this Easter. I am blessed for the people I have in my life, whose support has truly kept me going, and now I want to be a blessing of support to new members of our family. I am so excited about this that I might make it a yearly event!

If you are coming into the Church this Easter, WELCOME HOME! And go sign up for this giveaway, when it goes live on Ash Wednesday on my blog Through Broken Roses.

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