BEREAVEMENT MINISTRY

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”     ~Psalm 147:3

Bless those who mourn, eternal God, with the comfort of your love that they may face each new day with hope and the certainty that nothing can destroy the good that has been given.  May their memories become joyful, their days enriched with friendship, and their lives encircled by your love.

Vienna Cobb Anderson

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton S.C.

The Patron Saint of Grief

By Hopler, Whitney. “Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.”
Learn Religions, Aug. 27, 2020.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton—also known as Mother Seton— is the patron saint of grief. She experienced the deaths of many loved ones in her own life—including her husband and two of her five children and suffered other significant losses, as well. Elizabeth went from enjoying wealth to struggling with poverty and from celebrating debutante life with society friends to being ostracized by people for her faith. As she went through the grieving process each time, she chose to move closer to God rather than farther away from him. As a result, God worked through her life to use her grief to accomplish good purposes. Elizabeth ended up founding the first Catholic schools in the United States, establishing the Sisters of Charity religious order to help poor people, and becoming the first American Catholic saint.

Losing More Family and Friends

Elizabeth continued to work tirelessly to help others even as she continued to deal with the deep pain of grief in her own life. Her daughters Anna Maria and Rebecca both died of tuberculosis, and many of her close friends and family (including fellow members of her Sisters of Charity order) died from various illnesses and injuries. She said about grief:

“The accidents of life separate us from our dearest friends, but let us not despair. God is like a looking glass in which souls see each other. The more we are united to him by love, the nearer we are to those who belong to him.”

Turning to God for Help

The key to handling grief well is to communicate often with God through prayer, Elizabeth believed. She said,

“We must pray without ceasing, in every occurrence and employment of our lives, that prayer which is rather a habit of lifting up the heart to God as in a constant communication with him.”

Elizabeth prayed often, and when urging others to pray frequently, she reminded them that God is close to the brokenhearted and cares deeply about the sorrow of grief. She said:

“In every disappointment, great or small. Let your heart fly directly to your dear Savior, throwing yourself in those arms for refuge against every pain and sorrow. Jesus will never leave you or forsake you.”

Saint James the Apostle Catholic Church is offering a 6 Week Bereavement Group for those dealing with the loss of a loved one.

Thursday nights 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Meetings will gather in the meet in the rectory at 45 South Springfield Avenue, Springfield New Jersey.
Participation is free however, registration is required. Please email  Bereavement@saintjamesparish.org or contact the parish office at  (908) 687-3327

Let us be your companions for the journey.
The goal of this group is to provide a process for healing within a safe and supportive environment.

Bereavement Group Options

“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted” – Matthew 5:4

Wherever you are on your journey of grief, you do not have to travel alone. Saint James Bereavement Ministry offers two opportunities for you to become involved in the community to find support. We invite you to take part in one or both of our grief support programs. The “Healing the Heart Group” acknowledges that grief is unique to each person, and the voyage through it can be painful, lonely, and confusing, but it can also be comforting to share this journey with others.  The group will meet Wednesday nights at 7:30 p.m. every other week.   The sessions include learning about grief and understanding the grieving process, the changes, challenges, and choices that occur, coping with holidays and anniversaries, and dealing with feelings of loneliness and being disconnected.  This group is led by Jo Ann. Seasons of Hope is a 6-week ongoing program, all group sessions follow the same simple format and flow with a comforting blend of commentary, scripture, prayer, and sharing. The group meetings rotate quarterly throughout the year on Thursday nights. If you have any questions or are interested in joining both or one of the groups please contact Nancy Starzinski, Nancy Mahoney-Rajs, or Jo Ann at Bereavement@saintjamesparish.org

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Grief is not the enemy. Grief can be one of our greatest teachers.” 

 ~Tom Zuba author of Permission to Mourn:  A New Way to Do Grief

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BEREAVEMENT TOPICS

“Come to me all of you that are weary and carrying heavy burden and I will give you rest.”

LYRICS TO SONGS

My Yoke Is Easy

Source: Musixmatch // Songwriters: John Michael Talbot // My Yoke Is Easy lyrics © Birdwing Music

I take at you know what has been reported about Jesus of Nazareth
The way God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and power
He went about doing good works and healing all who were in the grip of the devil
And God was with him
We are witnesses to all that He did
Even now the blind recover their sight, cripples walk,
lepers are cured, the deaf hear, dead men are raised to life,
and the poor have the Good News preached to them

All who are weary come unto Me
All who find life a burden
I will refresh you
Your soul will find rest
For My yoke is easy
And My burden is light

Take my yoke on your shoulders and learn
For I am gentle and humble
I will refresh you
Your soul will find rest
I am gentle and humble of heart

My yoke is easy
My burden is light
Your soul will find rest
Take My yoke on your shoulders and learn
I am gentle and humble of heart

Come unto Me
Your soul will find rest
My yoke is easy
My burden is light
I am gentle and humble of heart

All who are weary come unto Me

The Prayer

Written by David Foster, Carole Bayer Sager, Alberto Testa & Tony Renis in 1998 for the film Quest for Camelot

I pray you’ll be our eyes
And watch us where we go
And help us to be wise
In times when we don’t know

Let this be our prayer
As we go our way
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe

I pray we’ll find your light
And hold it in our hearts
When stars go out each night
Remind us where you are

Let this be our prayer
When shadows fill our day

Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe

We ask that life be kind
And watch us from above
We hope each soul will find
Another soul to love

Let this be our prayer
Just like every child
Needs to find a place
Guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe

Need to find a place
Guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe

Jealous of the Angels

Songwriters: Barrett Yeretsian / Jennifer Bostic / Jimmy Fortune / Zachary N. Runquist
Jealous of the Angels lyrics © Bluewater Music Corp., BMG Rights Management, DistroKid, Fortune Publishing, LLC

I didn’t know today would be our last
Or that I’d have to say goodbye to you so fast
I’m so numb, I can’t feel anymore
Prayin’ you’d just walk back through that door

And tell me that I was only dreamin’
You’re not really gone as long as I believe

There will be another angel
Around the throne tonight
Your love lives on inside of me
And I will hold on tight
It’s not my place to question
Only God knows why
I’m just jealous of the angels
Around the throne tonight

You always made my troubles feel so small
And you were always there to catch me when I’d fall
In a world where heroes come and go
Well God just took the only one I know
So I’ll hold you as close as I can
Longing for the day, when I see your face again
But until then

God must need another angel
Around the throne tonight
Your love lives on inside of me
And I will hold on tight
It’s not my place to question
Only God knows why
I’m just jealous of the angels
Around the throne tonight

Singin’ hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
I’m just jealous of the angels
Around the throne tonight

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand”
Isaiah 41:10

Only For a Short While

Oh, only for so short a while you
have loaned us to each other,
because we take form in your act of drawing us,
and we take life in your painting us,
and we breathe in your singing us.

But only for so short a while
have you loaned us to each other.
Because even a drawing cut in obsidian fades,
and the green feathers, the crown feathers,
of the Quetzal bird lose their color,
and even the sounds of the waterfall
die out in the dry season.

So, we too, because only for a short while have you loaned us to each other.

– Aztec Indian Prayer

LOVE NEVER DISAPPEARS

Love never disappears for death is a non-event.
I have merely retired to the room next door.
You and I are the same;
what we were for each other, we still are.
Speak to me as you always have,
do not use a different tone, do not be sad.
Continue to laugh at what made us laugh.
Smile and think of me.
Life means what it has always meant.
The link is not severed.
Why should I be out of your soul
if I am out of your sight?
I will wait for you;
I am not here, but just on the other side of this path.
You see, all is well.

~ St Augustine

If you have any questions or are interested in joining the Bereavement Ministry contact Nancy Stardinski or Nancy Mahoney-Rajs at Bereavement@saintjamesparish.org