Guide Catholic Approach to Widowhood, A

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They then brought the two groups together in the later stages for socialization and fellowship, as well as ongoing education about the more practical problems that arise from losing a spouse, such as budgeting, financial planning and understanding the tax code. That arrangement, Schellert said, worked well for a number of years, but in the late s, budgetary constraints and an offer from a local funeral home to take on the work of running the grieving ministry led the diocese to shut down the part of the program that assisted widows and widowers through the initial stages of loss.

Bereavement groups continue to exist on the parish level, as does the diocesan-wide fellowship and education program. The Diocese of Peoria, Ill. The board also disseminates information on various parish support groups so that those who need more ongoing help can find something near them.

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As those responsible for those various ministries and apostolates will tell you, to an extent, programs such as these are working. Much of that, however, has little to do with the programs themselves. Some of that he credits to difficulty spreading the word and marketing. So can finding the time and these days, money to travel weekly to a central diocesan event such as that in Wichita. They meet somebody and get remarried, or they get burned out because they and a handful of others have been doing the majority of the work.

Then the group falls apart. As a result of tight budgets and staffing cuts, most bereavement programs are staffed primarily by volunteers … who happen to be in short supply these days, regardless of the ministry. Nor are they likely to be anytime soon. He was in such terrible shape that at the end, I was actually praying for him to die. Once he did, for about two weeks, I felt extreme relief. Which sounds terrible, but there was no running to the hospital, no worrying, a great burden was lifted. Eventually the reality set in, however, and it was terrifying.

I tried several things to cope. First, I found a parish that had a grief meeting.


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The nun who led it kept telling me she knew what I was going through, but I had a hard time with that. You might understand grief, but not mine. Then I tried another group.

It was led by a man who did nothing but read from the Bible. I felt like my life was over, my hope was gone, and I was angry at God. I needed something more. Then I saw an ad in the bulletin for a Beginning Experience weekend.

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I was skeptical, but I signed up. Everyone had lost somebody — maybe only through divorce, but everyone had a hole in their heart where a loved one used to be. When the weekend was over, I wanted to stay. For the first time in a long time, I felt peace. A lot of people come there from Beginning Experience. I have friends from work who were supportive during the funeral, but maybe two weeks later, they were over it. When they ask, they really want to know. I just wish more people knew about it.

You can put it in the bulletins, but a personal invitation is better. Pastors should be inviting people to these weekends and spreading the word. My wife died in from melanoma cancer. She was 30, I was 33, and we had three small kids. After her death, the physical support we received was fairly constant: We had family close by.

Spiritually, however, it was much harder. I think a Catholic support group would have helped, but the only one in the diocese at the time met during the day, when I was at work. There also was nothing for the kids. Of course, the more time that passed, the longer it went between visits. That was true of almost everyone, though. I think they were afraid of setting me back. There was one man, however, a deacon, who had checked up on my wife and me regularly during her illness. After her death he called or visited every couple of weeks for months. Talking things through with him helped tremendously.

After about five to six months, I started thinking clearly again, and eventually I remarried. If I had any advice to give pastors or friends of those grieving a spouse, I would urge them to listen to what the person is saying. Too often we get stuck on what we think we need to say and that prevents us from hearing where their grief is coming from.

Finally, invite them to get involved at Church or serve in some way. He was addressing all Christians in all ages. So, how can you help those who have lost their husbands or wives? Invite them over to your house for family dinners or special celebrations.


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And offer to give them a ride if they need one. The letter informed her that the group would remember her husband at an upcoming Mass. Stricker had never heard of the Widows of Prayer, but she was so touched by their concern that she decided to attend the Mass. A year later, inspired by the witness of the women she met there, Stricker herself became a Widow of Prayer, making her first promises at a Mass last November.

The group itself was founded in by Mary Reardon. To join, candidates complete a year of formation, then make temporary promises in which they commit to a regular prayer life, consisting typically of daily Mass, the recitation of the Rosary, an hour of Eucharistic adoration and additional mental prayer. There are 60 living members and 19 deceased, as well as 22 candidates.

They have chapters consisting of three or more members in six dioceses and individual members in several more. Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe now. Send feedback to us at oursunvis osv. I condemn your condemnation of those who condemn condemnation. The Church has adapted to the new secular reality of divorce by recognizing that couples today often enter into marriage without the requisite commitments, which is grounds for annulment.

Annulments are handed out like candy at least in the US and Pope Francis has made it even easier. All this while maintaining the year old teaching that marriage is unto death.

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That you are rational and right will hardly quell your critics. In fact, it will most probably infuriate them. Those who profess belief in a loving supernatural god are very quick to condemn, be it in their own name or his. While the Catholic doctrine is a laudable absolute of "what God has joined, let no man tear asunder", this was only workable in the old days when divorce could only be for fault grounds which, incidentally, helped justify an annulment. Flash forward to modern life, and the legal landscape has changed substantially.

Currently, you can get a divorce without the consent of your spouse in every state. Contrary to the myth, one spouse's lack of consent does not normally delay or complicate a divorce, unless it involves children or significant property. One spouse can serve divorce papers on the other, and it does not really matter if the other spouse does not consent -- you have a legal right to a divorce, and in a no fault divorce, only one party needs to believe that the parties have irreconcilable differences for a court to grant a divorce.

As a consequence, it is entirely possible that a spouse can be divorced without wanting that outcome, or being able to legally prevent it. Man quite often unilaterally tears asunder what God has joined, without consent of anyone but themselves. In light of this, shouldn't it be possible for the Church to recognize that at least certain types of divorces do not result in one of the spouses committing a sin? The hard reality is that anyone who believes that the rules of anachronistic mythologies provide any basis for real-world existence is doomed both to disappointment and psychological harm.

It's long past time that we stopped pretending nonsensical magical beliefs deserve anything more than pity and psychiatric assistance for those still encumbered by such delusions. In them, Jesus is highly critical of unthinking adherence to rules.

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Implying that the righteous use those rules as a limit to their obligations, when more is expected of them, while for the disadvantaged they are an undue burden given the subjective circumstances only they and God knows. For Jesus, then, morality is relative -- and he shows this over and over. With two exceptions that I can think of. In those two exceptions, he speaks and acts absolutely against two actions considered acceptable in the Jewish community at the time -- financial dealings in the temple, and divorce.