Celebration of Life Mass- Sunday 3 October
Where: St Saviour’s Church, Upper Dominick Street, Dublin 1
In the early days of the lockdown caused by the covid-19 pandemic my good friend’s father died. At that time of course we were unable to go into the Church so there was no funeral Mass. Friends and neighbours assembled outside the house, observing social distance, and the undertaker gave a little speech. He also said a prayer at the end which I personally thought was a lovely touch; I didn’t expect that.
The man who had died was very religious and a daily communicant, and I thought what a shame it was that we could not celebrate his life and pray for the repose of his soul in the normal way inside the Church he had worshipped in so regularly. I am certain he himself could never have envisioned a situation where it was not possible to have the celebration of Mass for a person whose time on earth had come to an end. The unique place of a funeral in the spiritual and emotional life of a family needs to be treated in a unique fashion.
He was one of the older generation, born when larger families were the norm. He himself was one of eleven children. His bereaved family spoke of their heartbreak and hurt at the loss of the comforting rituals and the absence of contact with him before his death. Ritual both comforts the bereaved and guides the words (“sorry for your trouble”) and behaviour of the mourners.
All of us here in Ireland and the rest of the world have been greatly affected by the Pandemic. Many among us have suffered great losses within families and among friends, and almost everyone has either lost someone, or knows someone who has lost a loved one during this difficult period. Those who did not die as a direct result of Covid-19 were still subject to the same rules, and those who loved them could not mark their passing in the way they wanted.
Here at the Saint Martin Apostolate, we realise that due to the ongoing restrictions, many people did not get a chance celebrate the life of their loved one. Funerals, when allowed, were limited with regard to numbers, Masses curtailed and there was little resemblance to the funerals of before, where people could offer consolation and support, sharing their memories and stories of the person who had died.
Because of this, we have decided, together with St Saviour’s, in Dominick Street to offer a special Mass for all who have passed away during Covid-19, those who died from the virus as well as those who died from other causes.
We hope that such an event will be reassuring and bring comfort.
All are very welcome and we look forward to seeing you there.
Written by Marie – Therese Cryan