I had an interesting couple of days this past weekend, with lots of Catholic issues involved. Settle in with your cup of tea :)
Saturday I attended a memorial service for Baby D, and I wanted to take the time to describe this important ministry that exists in my diocese, and likely in many others. Our diocese hosts a collaborative ministry between one of the local Catholic hospitals and one of the diocesan cemeteries. Anybody who loses a baby to miscarriage can participate, and have their baby's remains buried at the cemetery, and/or attend the associated memorial service to honor their baby's short life. They will also issue you a Recognition of Life Certificate, if you desire. The remains are interred in a common plot with a heart shaped headstone, maintained by the cemetery. The memorial service was held in one of the chapels right there on the grounds. It wasn't a Mass (I suppose that they serve many non-Catholics, and this is the reason) but the service was lovely and meaningful. And it was wonderful to see so many couples and family members there, honoring the tiny life that was lost. It's a real tribute to the sanctity of human life.
Of course, I cried throughout. There were people on hand, handing out programs, carnations and tissues. As I said, it was a touching gesture. Not a cheering thing, to be sure, but an important recognition of life and of our faith. Very profound.
The next day, Sunday, I received my very quick training on being a catechist for the Children's Liturgy of the Word program. Hank and I arrived nice and early before Mass, to see the set-up, and it seems pretty straightforward. You get out a small table, an altar of sorts, with its own little seasonally appropriate cloth, a candle, and a big board on which to post the responsorial psalm. There's a book with the readings, and handouts for the kids to take home with them.
When it came time for the kids to go back, Hank and I processed up with the others :) Back in the sacristy, the catechist goes through the readings with the kids, sings the responsorial psalm, recites the gospel, and then spends the homily time going through some reflection questions with them. They were all pretty quiet, including Henry, much to my relief. My good little Catholic boy. One little boy, about midway through the first reading, burst into hysterical tears. I froze a bit in panic, but Fran, the main catechist for this week, seemed unfazed and made an attempt to soothe him. When it became clear that this attempt was failing miserably, she sent him out to the congregation with his sister to go back to their mom. I was sweating it a little, but it was fine.
I hope there are no criers next week, because I'm on the schedule :) At any rate, you finish up with the prayers of the faithful, give them the handouts, and send them back out. All told, it's maybe 15-20 minutes. So, I'm on tap for this coming Sunday, and then the last Sunday of Ordinary Time, the Feast of Christ the King on November 21st. I'm nervous, but overall pretty excited.
I've been looking over my readings and planning reflection strategies (because, as you know, that's just how I am), so hopefully on Sunday I can transform into SUPER CATECHIST - Astounding All Children With Her Kindness, Wit, And All Things Hyper-Catholic.
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