Advent services offered for people mourning loss of loved ones

Special prayer services offered by Catholic Cemeteries each Wednesday evening during Advent will provide an opportunity for people who have lost loved ones to reflect in faith and hope as they prepare for Christmas.

Now in their third year, the 40-minute, 6 p.m. prayer services will be held Dec. 6, Dec. 13 and Dec. 20 at Catholic Cemeteries’ Holy Angels Mausoleum, Resurrection Cemetery in Omaha. They will include Scripture readings, a brief homily, music and sharing.

"This is a time of great reflection, healing and hope," said Deacon Jim Tardy, outreach manager.

New this year: A large vase will be decorated with twigs to symbolize death and dying, and silk flowers will be added through the season to symbolize new life, as seen at Christmas in the coming of the Christ child, Deacon Tardy said.

"What hurts doesn’t go away, nor should it really," he said of mourning loved ones who have died. But it’s not healthy to remain in despair, and "we’ll go from this period of death to a journey back to life," he said.

As in past years, people will be encouraged to write prayer petitions for their loved ones, themselves and other needs, and place them on a large Christmas tree. The prayers will be blessed, offered silently Jan. 8 at the mausoleum’s monthly memorial Mass, and buried on cemetery grounds.

"Some of these (petitions) are so tender, it just melts your heart," Deacon Tardy said.

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