My Facebook friend Matthew Livingstone posted this earlier today and I reprint it here with his kind permission. It shows wonderful outreach and pastoral care—and serves to remind us how small but thoughtful gestures like this can be transformative:
Last year, when our dad died we needed to find a church here in Green Bay where we could have his funeral. He did not have a home parish for many years, for a variety of reasons. Our parish was far outside the city and logistics didn’t warrant having it there. We brought dad here from Milwaukee here to an assisted living facility to be closer to family. And, finally, he suffered, lived and thrived the best he could with severe mental illness for the past 40 years.
Resurrection Catholic Parish, Green Bay was so hospitable, welcoming and kind in our time of need. They hosted both the funeral Mass and luncheon following – No questions asked. No barriers or conditions. Just a kind welcome and a staff and team of volunteers willing to serve us joyfully! It was beautiful. So, today, coming up on the one year anniversary of dad’s death (The feast of Our Lady of Lourdes – 75 years and 1 day after his birth), we receive this package in the mail. It is a cross which they made at the time of dad’s death, and which hung in the church’s welcoming space for the past year as a reminder of dad’s life and invitation to pray for him. With it they sent a hand-written note with a simple but beautiful message. I am so deeply and personally touched by this genuine Christian care and concern for us as a family! What a beautiful way to show those who pass through their church true love! Think about it – EVERYONE who celebrates a funeral there receives a package like this – What a great gift to help those along in faith and the thresholds – Especially that of TRUST. Funerals are a key connecting point of those distanced from the Church – And this parish has found a beautiful way to follow up and help people reconnect in a deep and profound way. And so very fitting for a church’s name who recalls our hope in Jesus’ Resurrection and His being alive right now! I give thanks to God for them today and their heartfelt ministry to those who grieve. It has been a blessing to us today. Dad , we continue to hope and pray that you now rest in Christ’s eternal Peace. Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us. Deo Gratias!
Deo Gratias, indeed! Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this, Matthew.