On Saturday, August 13th, the friars welcomed 26 grieving parents into their home for an Emmaus Ministry spiritual retreat led by Fr. Eric Carpine, O.F.M. and joined by Fr. Joe Quinn, O.F.M. and most of the friar community.
It was a grace-filled day as parents from MA, NH, and NY found peace, hope, and love on the fifth floor of the friary. Beginning at 9:30am and ending at 7:30pm, parents participated in one-on-one, small group, and large group sessions—all focused on the spirituality of the grieving process. For a parent whose child has died, the promise of eternal life and the rich teachings of the Catholic Church bring much comfort.
For the parents here on this hot summer day, it was particularly comforting. Time since the death of their children ranged from only a few months ago to 33 years ago in 1983. Cause of death included miscarriage, stillbirth, accident, overdose, suicide, abortion, illness, and murder. Several parents experienced multiple deaths.
At the end of the day when asked about how it went, parents had this to say:
“This was an excellent experience. It surpassed my expectations.”
“I absolutely loved it. I plan to attend more.”
“I enjoyed the activities, reflection, and liturgical celebrations.”
“The witness talks and small group meetings were terrific, as were the facilities.”
Particularly moving was the Closing Prayer Service during which twelve friars comforted parents with the laying on of hands, after which Fr. Eric gave each the Sacrament of Anointing. The retreat concluded with the friars beautifully singing the Salve Regina.
Since 2009, The Emmaus Ministry for Grieving Parents at St. Anthony Shrine has been serving the spiritual needs of parents whose children of any age have died by any cause—no matter how long ago. It also offers One-Hour, One-Day, and Weekend Spiritual Retreats. For more information, call Diane at 617-542-8057 or see www.emfgp.org.