By Kaelanne Jordan, firstname.lastname@example.org
The St Charles Borromeo RC Ministry of Consolation (MOC) understands that the death of a loved one can be an especially stressful time for the bereaved family members. The loss and grief seem unbearable and having to focus on what must be done, when and by whom can be a major challenge for some families.
The desire to lend some direction and support to the bereaved as they find their way through the process conceived a Consolation/ Information booklet which was officially launched September 26 at the parish hall.
It offers a vast array of practical and comprehensive advice on how to proceed with funeral planning, bereavement counselling, liturgical aspects of the farewell service, burial vs cremation, preparation and execution of wills, the financial benefits available, and more.
The booklet was a team effort by the members of the Ministry – Kathy-Ann Belmar-Thomas, Carlos Charles, Manuelita Gomez-Thomas, Patsy Jack, Hazel James, Lynette Joseph, Theresa Joseph, Keith Joseph, Lynette Maule, Louise Maxwell, Nikita Questel, Margaret Rose-Ali, Barbara Williams, Louise Zamora, and Barbara Wafe, MOC Chairperson.
At the book launch, Wafe said that the Ministry of Consolation wanted to fulfil one of its objectives that they had not yet accomplished – to share information that encourages growth and offers practical support from existing Church, community, government and non-governmental sources where necessary.
“Since the inception of the Ministry in 2012, so many questions have been asked of us by persons who had experienced loss that our team decided to put together some answers. It is our hope that you would find this booklet useful,” she said.
Of how the booklet evolved, Wafe explained, “We only really got down to it early this year…. With the passing of Fr [Reginald] Hezekiah and all of our questions, after five years we decided we are going to try and then the book suddenly got a life of its own.” She continued, “We just did not know what we were getting ourselves into. The time was so opportune. We were startled at the volume of information out there and that people did not know that so much help was available out there from government and non-governmental agencies,” she said.
In his welcome remarks, Fr Ian Taylor, moderator Curepe/Tunapuna/St John’s cluster commended the members for the existence of such an “indispensable ministry”, especially in a large parish with several funerals annually.
He said, “While family members and friends lend support, and seek to console upon the death of a loved one, everyone eventually returns to the busyness of life and the bereaved are left to endure the pain of permanent separation. It is to these silent sufferers that this Ministry of Consolation lends its service and now, with the publication of this booklet.” Fr Taylor prayed that the booklet would “meet beyond the borders of this parish” and then throughout the archdiocese.
During the brief launch a book review/endorsement was presented by Gregg Durham, representing Fr Gerard Tang Choon O Carm, Episcopal Vicar for the Suburban Vicariate. In his contribution, Fr Tang Choon commended the Ministry and their dedication to the bereaved stating that the manual provides a comprehensive look at the process a family or loved one will undergo, and ably aids them throughout this difficult time.
“In intricate detail it showcases the processes involved when someone you love passes, various departments of the state which provide assistance for the family of the deceased, the stages involved in planning funerals, wakes, burials and so much more,” he said.
Fr Tang Choon noted that the booklet meshes the legal and religious aspects that a family will experience at the point of death adding “thus, I highly recommend this booklet…It is a must-have book for every family in Trinidad and Tobago”.
The simple book launch included a book trailer/skit, musical interlude by Philip Okafor, a Q&A segment, mini-praise and worship, and blessing of the booklet.
A token was presented to psychologist Margaret Nakhid-Chatoor and sponsor Keith Belgrove of Belgrove’s Funeral Home.
The St Charles Borromeo RC Ministry of Consolation Booklet is being sold at the parish office in Tunapuna at an introductory price of $25.