During a general audience in 2015, Pope Francis remarked on the pain suffered because of the death of a family member. Specifically, he spoke about tragedy of parents losing a child.
“Death is an experience which touches all families, without exception,” Pope Francis said. “For parents, surviving their own children is particularly heartbreaking; it contradicts the fundamental nature of the very relationships that give meaning to the family. The loss of a son or daughter is like time stopping altogether: it opens a chasm that swallows both past and future. Death, which takes away a little child or young person, is a blow to the promises, to the gifts and the sacrifices of love joyfully brought to the life we gave birth to. … Death touches us, and when it is a child’s, it touches us profoundly.”
To honor and walk with those who have suffered the death of a child, the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend is holding four Memorial Masses across the area in October, the month during which the Church celebrates Respect Life Month and our nation marks Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Two of the Masses will be in English, and two will be in Spanish.
• Tuesday, October 10, at 5:30 p.m. at St. Thomas the Apostle in Elkhart (English).
• Friday, October 13, at 5:45 p.m. at St. John the Baptist in Fort Wayne (English).
• Thursday, October 26, at 6:30 p.m. at St. Joseph in Fort Wayne (Spanish).
• Friday, October 27, at 6 p.m. at St. Vincent de Paul in Elkhart (Spanish).
The Memorial Masses, which have been held in the diocese since 2018, are sponsored by Ava’s Grace, a new ministry from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend that offers spiritual, emotional, and practical support to families who suffer miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss.
“Memorial Masses are for anyone who has lost a child at any age, including adult children, and we also invite anyone to attend who has lost a child (or grandchild) through abortion,” said Lisa Everett, Director of Marriage and Family Ministry for the diocese. “Losing a child under any circumstances is heart-breaking, and it is important for the Church to be present with her love and compassion and solicitude to anyone who is suffering in this way. These annual Memorial Masses let parents and other family members know that they are not alone in their grief, and that God wants to come alongside them through His body, the Church.”
For more information, visit diocesefwsb.org/avas-grace.
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