Family is such a unique and all-encompassing word. We use it to refer to immediate and extended family, adopted family and sometimes friends become family. Ultimately, we are all a part of the human family. This greater family tends to reinforce the idea that each of us is only separated from everyone on the planet by a mere six degrees and if you live in northeast Ohio, the separation is probably no more than three degrees.
During this month dedicated to the Holy Family, we are reminded of the sacrifices we make for family and how much our love can bring joy,and in the same way, heartbreak. Joseph had to decide to be a husband to a wife carrying a son not his own, and to be a father to that son. Mary found herself unable to keep her son from going off into the world and ultimately watched His life brutally taken from Him. We often forget that despite the miracles, this family was subjected to unimaginable suffering. While we honor them as the Holy Family, we should never forget that in their humanity, they were a mom, dad, and son.
It is in this humanity that they are connected to us and suffer with us when tragedy strikes a member of our family. We turn to the Holy Family because they lived a very human existence and suffered the death of their child.
Each of us at the Catholic Cemeteries Association look to those we serve as members of our extended family. Our hearts break when death brings a family to one of our Catholic cemeteries. We understand that it is our responsibility to guide the family through the quagmire of their suffering and assist them with some difficult decisions. It is impossible for us not to offer a piece of ourselves to that family and to carry a bit of the burden for them. It is in this moment that we become family and, in our ministry, offer their suffering to God with the knowledge that Heaven is real, and Christ is the map to the new Eden.
God Bless each of you during this month dedicated to the Holy Family.
Director of Cemeteries