Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 8, 2003
Faithful remember loved ones
Advent service allows people chance to grieve
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Saying Jesus is the way to truth and life, Archbishop Thomas Collins comforted about 50 people Nov. 30 who attended the service of remembrance at the Catholic Pastoral Centre to honour their deceased loved ones.
"The passage of time means so many things and today we respect and reflect upon the lives of loved ones," the archbishop said. "It is a time not to be alone, but to be together."
It was the second year for the Advent candlelight service organized by the Family Enrichment Centre to help the grieving cope with their losses, especially at Christmas.
"The Lord offers us consolation," Collins said. "He offers us sustenance.
"The candles we light today are like each of us. They are so easily extinguished and burn brightly so briefly," he said.
"They symbolize the light of the Lord."
Sister Mary Laurene Bradley, a Sister of St. Joseph of London, has been instrumental in organizing both events. She says she enjoys volunteering her time because it is important to keep our loved ones nearby.
"It is so important to remember people in our lives," she said. "My dad died two years ago. I remember I always asked him to help me."
Bradley recalled how she always found it difficult to merge onto the Whitemud Freeway. "So I would call him and he would tell me it would be clear - that everything would be OK. And it was. I just knew it was because of my dad."
Judy Carlin joined the procession who lit candles in remembrance from the Advent wreath as a symbol of hope.
She did not come to remember anyone in particular, but seemingly by a divine plan, she sat next to a family who was deeply grieving.
She said she tried to provide what comfort she could.
"I thought it would be nice to come to the service," Carlin said. "It was lovely - very touching and meaningful.
"I've come mainly for my family members but also for the holy souls in purgatory. It was nice to talk to others for a few minutes who were also remembering."
"The Lord offers us consolation."
The service was special for Carlin because she considers the centre's chapel to be at the centre of the archdiocese.
"Maybe because people just aren't aware of (this service) - or maybe they're shy - but they miss out on so much that they could enjoy and experience here," she said.
The service was swayed with musical hymns performed on the piano by Doug Laver. It was particularly heartening while the participants lit their candles.
Chris Short returned to his seat and sat staring deeply into the flame. He came to remember his mother, Louise Short.
"Mom died a year ago," he said. "I'm here for remembrance sake because she used to love to come to church."
The Family Enrichment Centre organized the service last year at the request of the archbishop after he realized few parishes in the archdiocese were offering one. Bradley said plans are already in place for another celebration next year.