In our faith tradition, the Catholic Funeral Rite is an essential part of the grieving process. It brings us together as a community so we can lighten our grief by sharing it with others.

It also offers us the opportunity to release our loved ones to the Lord. Ultimately, it helps prepare us to work through our sorrow and loss while remaining at one with God.

“No matter how isolated we may feel in our grief right now, we are never truly alone.”

For those of us who have lost a family member or close friend during the coronavirus pandemic, our grief is put on hold. That’s because the very thing that gets us through grief— the support of family and friends as we celebrate our Catholic funeral traditions—is not an option right now. As in other locations around the world, the Diocese of Phoenix has limited the number of people who may gather in order to protect the health and safety of our community. Prompted by these obstacles, Catholics are finding a way to adapt to the situation at hand. Many families schedule small groups to take turns attending the Vigil or congregating at the grave site. Some churches are able to live stream the Funeral Mass so extended family and friends can participate in prayer. While these measures are important, they can’t replace the embraces, handshakes and shared stories that mean so much to those who are mourning.

Once the pandemic is over, you can again gather your family and friends together at the cemetery to remember and celebrate the life of your loved one. That’s the beauty of having a final resting place to visit. Whether it’s one month or one year from now, it will be a blessed moment of human connection and healing.

No matter how isolated we may feel in our grief right now, we are never truly alone. Take comfort in knowing that God is always going to be there to offer us His profound love, no matter what may be happening in the world.

God bless you, and stay well.