Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
How’s that for a heading looking for attention? No funeral is a picnic, and you sure hope your picnics will be happier than a funeral.

Well, today is about Picnics, specifically the one that starts this afternoon (Sunday) at 4 p.m Our deep thanks to the Pastoral Council and the extra hands of the Martini’s, (aka Scott and Sue Martinez.) Since an Ice Cream Social is thrown in for dessert, the only thing outside are the grills and the grillmeister (Scotty) for the hot dogs and hamburgers. I really hope you signed up, but if you didn’t take a chance. We’ll probably be able to stretch it. I’d like to take this moment to thank Pastoral Council Members Nancy Adams, (pres.), Frank Krauser, (v.p.), July Fisher (sec.), Rosemary Guerin, Chuck Wobby, Ann Murry, Liz Calhoun, and Connie Reed. A pastor couldn’t ask for a nicer bunch of people to work with.

If you are moved to invite someone who maybe might appreciate an invitation to a church activity that’s pressure-free, feel free. The Lord will provide (and so will Scotty.)

Let me segue way to Funerals. I‘ve been wanting to reflect on this for a while and never seem to get to it, so here are some thoughts.

Personally, planning your own funeral seems like it could be the ultimate control move. I promise you, maybe the kindest thing you could do for people you will be leaving behind is taking care of a lot of funeral stuff in advance. Forcing people to guess what wanted isn’t fair. In fact, over the years, I’ve said that if there is someone in your life who has been a real pain in your (supply body part,) the sneakiest thing you could do to get even is to make them your executor. My brother Pete and my best friend Jack have the dubious distinction of being my executors, and since I treasure them both very much, I’m determined not to leave them with a burden. (Carrying the casket will be burden enough.) If I can’t get everything get organized for them, I’ve decided to put off dying.

Our Sunday Visitor Press has published a pretty good reflection on “Understanding and Planning CATHOLIC FUNERALS”. It’s well done, if expensive, for a pamphlet. I’ve ordered 50 of them and if you’re really interested, I’ll be happy to share one with you. It’s almost too much info, but different folk have different questions.

I’d like to share a couple of thoughts from my own experience. For one thing, I really think the funeral should follow the death of someone fairly closely. It’s part of a very important grieving process. Grieving isn’t a bad word. On the contrary, I think it can so often be a wonderful sign of just how much someone was appreciated during her or his life. Cremation can delay the funeral liturgy. Often people are coming from out of town and the delay isn’t convenient, etc.

Ideally, the way to do the funeral liturgy is for the body to be present for the liturgy and then be cremated and buried later. But that can defeat one reason for cremation in the first place, namely, to cut down on the funeral expense. That’s a perfectly good reason for cremation.

Another thought is that ashes, or ‘cremens’ should be buried with the same dignity as a body. They should NOT be scattered but kept together. It’s better not to have them sitting on a mantle piece somewhere, nor should they be divided up among loving relatives. At one time or another, these things have come up in my ministry, and when a family is going through grieving, I want to help plan a good liturgy, not explain a lot of rules. We’ll talk more.

Meantime, be healthy, In Jesus   
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