Posts by: Stephanie

How to Help a Grieving Friend

How to Help a Grieving Friend

The loss of a loved one is one of life’s most difficult experiences. As Catholics, we know that death is not the end, but the grief of loss is still terrible. Even Jesus wept over the death of his dear friend Lazarus before He raised him from the dead.

When a friend or family member loses a loved one, it is sometimes hard to know how to help them. Fear of doing the wrong thing or not knowing what to say can keep us from helping our friends in their time of greatest need. To help with this, here are just a few tips on how to support a friend or family member who has lost a loved one:

1. Be there for them.

Let the grieving person know that it’s OK to cry in front of you, get angry, and express their feelings without any fear of judgement or criticism. Be willing to sit in silence if your friend doesn’t feel like talking.

Make every effort to attend the funeral or the wake, or both. If distance makes that impossible, consider sending flowers or some other token to show your friend that you are supporting them during this difficult time.

2. Assemble a team.

If your friend is responsible for funeral arrangements, the process can be overwhelming, especially when the minutiae of daily life is added on top of that. Make a list of things to do (choose a funeral home, contact a priest, walk the dog, provide meals, do laundry) and then assemble a team of family and friends to take on or help with each task.

Even if they’re not making funeral arrangements, having a group of family and friends pitch in will help the bereaved and let them know they are not alone in their grief.

3. Don’t be upset if your friend doesn’t want to talk.

Communication can be overwhelming to someone who is grieving, and they are likely inundated with family and friends offering their sympathy. So if your phone calls or texts go unanswered, don’t be offended. Keep in contact and try sending messages that don’t require a response. A simple “We love you and we’re praying for you” will be much appreciated.

4. Let them know you are praying for them.

Send a spiritual bouquet (a group of prayer or devotions gathered together for a specific intention), have a Mass said for them, offer to drive them to Mass, or join them to pray a Rosary together.

5. When offering to help, be specific.

Offers to “call me if you need anything” will rarely be taken up, so if you want to help, be specific. Offer to cook meals, provide childcare, go grocery shopping, or anything else you can do.

6. Remember the deceased, even after the funeral.

The loss of a loved one hurts long after the funeral, and holidays and certain occasions can be especially hard. Keep the memory of the deceased alive by sharing fun stories or ways that their loved one made an impact in your life. Offer to commemorate a birthday or anniversary in a special way, make a charitable donation in honor of the deceased, or organize a memorial plaque or bench to honor the deceased.

7. Offer to drive them to a bereavement program.

Many dioceses offer bereavement support groups where others who have lost a loved one can give and receive support from others who know the depth of their pain. Make sure you let them know you are not suggesting the program because you are tired of their grief, but because you want to expand their network of support, especially with people who understand their experience.

If you or a friend has lost a loved one, we would love to keep them in our prayers. Submit your Prayer Request and we will offer it up individually at our daily staff Rosary.

Pope Francis pays for Rome’s homeless to visit Shroud of Turin

Pope Francis pays for Rome’s homeless to visit Shroud of Turin

From Catholic News Agency:

In his latest act of papal charity, Pope Francis has donated funds for two busloads of homeless and sick pilgrims to visit the Shroud of Turin. They will stay in two charitable centers that offer shelter to the homeless during the winter.

The Shroud of Turin is among the most well-known relics connected with Christ’s Passion. Venerated for centuries by Christians as the burial shroud of Jesus, it has been subject to intense scientific study to ascertain its authenticity, and the origins of the image.

A little more than 14 ft. long and 3-and-a-half feet wide, the cloth is stained with the post-mortem image of a man – front and back – who has been brutally tortured and crucified.

“This trip is a treat offered by Pope Francis to our homeless brothers,” Fr. Nicoloai told La Stampa.

“When he learned about this pilgrimage, he wished, through his almoner, who is in charge of charitable works, to give a contribution to these people living in a precarious state. This is because he believes that like the Shroud, they represent the suffering of the Lord Jesus,” he said.

Read more at Catholic News Agency.

5 Bible Verses for When You’re Questioning Your Faith

5 Bible Verses for When You’re Questioning Your Faith

Sometimes we think that once we have accepted the Catholic Faith, that faith never wavers; or that we’re “bad Catholics” if we question the Faith. But doubt is a natural part of the spiritual life and can even help us to deepen our relationship with God. Many saints, including St. Thomas the Apostle, St. Therese of Lisieux, and Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta experienced serious doubt in their spiritual lives. Pope Francis admitted that even he has experienced this, when he said:

“Who among us has not experienced insecurity, loss and even doubts on their journey of faith? Everyone! We’ve all experienced this, me too. It is part of the journey of faith, it is part of our lives. This should not surprise us, because we are human beings, marked by fragility and limitations. We are all weak, we all have limits: do not panic. We all have them.”

So if you are questioning your faith, at least know you are in good company. But where do we go from there? If you want to make progress in any journey (especially your spiritual journey) you need to keep moving closer toward the destination. The great saints didn’t dwell on their doubts, they sought the truth and they sought the Lord.

There are plenty of wonderful resources like Catholic Answers and Word on Fire that can answer your questions, but there is no better way to seek the truth than through prayer.

Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (John 14:6), so what better way to find the truth than by deepening your relationship with Truth itself? What better way to find God than by calling out to Him?

To help you out, here are 5 Bible verses to turn to and pray with when you experience doubt in your spiritual life.

1. Acts 17:27-28 They should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us,  for ‘In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’

2. Psalm 63:1 You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

3. Jeremiah 29:11-13: ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’

4. Proverbs 8:17  I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.

5. Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

If you are questioning your faith, we would love to pray for you! Just send us a note on our Prayer Request page and we will pray for you individually and in partnership with other prayer groups!