In the “Order of Christian Funerals” it states the responsibility for the ministry of consolation rests with the believing community, which heeds the words and example of the Lord Jesus: “Blessed are they who mourn; they shall be consoled” (Matthew 5:3). Each Christian shares in this ministry according to the various gifts and offices in the Church. The Church calls each member of Christ’s Body – priest, deacon, layperson – to participate in the ministry of consolation: to care for the dying, to pray for the dead, to comfort those who mourn.
The community’s principal involvement in the ministry of consolation is expressed in its active participation in the celebration of the funeral rites, particularly the vigil for the deceased, the funeral liturgy, and the rite of committal.
Priests, as teachers of faith and ministers of comfort, preside at the funeral rites, especially the Mass; the celebration of the funeral liturgy is especially entrusted to pastors and associate pastors. When no priest is available, deacons, as ministers of the word, of the altar, and of charity, preside at funeral rites. When no priest or deacon is available for the vigil and related rites or the rite of committal, a layperson presides.
Because of the number of funerals here at Nativity and not knowing what the future holds for the number of priests that will be assigned here, I have invited members of the parish to participate in our Ministry of Consolation. They have been prepared for this important role and they will represent our entire parish community in this ministry. These men and women will help us by presiding over Vigils for Deceased at funeral homes and Rites of Committal at cemeteries. I am very appreciative of their prayerful acceptance.
The formation of the Ministry of Consolation allows for a beautiful opportunity for instruction for our community of not only their role in the ministry of consolation but the role of the entire Body of Christ. The faith of the Christian community in the resurrection of the dead brings support and strength to those who suffer the loss of those whom they love.
The members of the Ministry of Consolation are: Anne Billas, Mary Ellen Christ, Marshall Coakley, Charlie Cunningham, Bob Gillis, Mayrene Kilker, Cathy Krzywicki, Frank Salamone, Cathy Tiley and Jim Tiley. I ask your prayers for them trusting that God will bless all that we do in His Name.