Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rent-a-Crowd & Rent-a-Pallbearer

Yesterday a Roman Catholic priest and friend of the store visited us. He mentioned in passing his Rent-a-Crowd and Rent-a-Pallbearer, for funerals. And we said, “What! Okay, we need to hear this story. You have special mourners and pallbearers for funerals?!”

First, you need to know that this priest is the only priest at a very large local Catholic church. He also answered my query yesterday about how many kids will be receiving their First Communion this Sunday, with “about 64.” It is a big church with a large number of members, big enough to have 64 pre-teen kids all about the same age who, after completing the classes for training in the Church will take Communion, for the first time.

The good Father told us yesterday that when a 99-year old woman dies she deserves a good funeral just as much as anyone else. A not uncommon problem for the very old is that all of their friends and family have died before them and there are none, or very few, who would attend their funeral. Likewise, for the very old, there are often too few friends or family members who have the health to be able to lift the casket with the dead person’s remains inside. Pallbearers are the ones who escort and carry the casket.

Father has a group of healthy individuals who will attend a funeral as the pallbearers when needed. He can contact his mourners and/or pallbearers and they will attend the funeral of someone they don’t know but who needs a good, decent, and dignified funeral. He said that he has over one hundred mourners who will attend a funeral when needed.

We were impressed with the thoughtfulness, as well as practicality of having pallbearers and mourners on hand and available for whomever needs them. Yes, each person, no matter who, deserves the dignity of a decent funeral. It is very practical, and very thoughtful and caring to have members of the congregation who will attend a funeral, not for their own grieving, but out of respect for the deceased person’s life.


rrchapman said...

Sometimes our Roman brothers understand the need for a proper funeral better than others, except for the Orthodox.

I'm not talking about eulogies and bad solos. They are not a part of a funeral service.

I'm talking about sending off a brother or sister with prayer as they enter a new phase of their life with Christ. I'm talking about centering on Christ, not the deceased.

I had an experience in college during the 1970s of filling in as organist at a funeral at a Roman parish (first time I played there). It was a Engaged Encounter Weekend for the parish. The local diocese had all those training for the vocational deaconate in town to learn about campus ministry (Rolla, Missouri, over Columbia, Missouri was a big deal).

Then, a resident at the state soldiers' home (next town, 10 miles away) who was hospitalized in town died. The "next town" didn't have a full-time priest.

The parish pastor in Rolla said he would do the funeral, but it did have to be in Rolla instead of St. James because of his time demands. That they agreed upon.

When I arrived at the rectory to discuss the service, the first person I met while waiting for the pastor--after the housekeeper--was the diocesan bishop from Jefferson City. He decided to drop in, too.

It was a relatively simple funeral mass with music. No eulogies. No solos. Prelude, hymns, music during communion. And, the best funeral sermon I ever heard.

If I remember correctly, the women of that parish also had a small reception for the mourners after the service.

It was everything that was needed.

Steve's Camera-As-Blog said...

On a similar note:



noun: A hired mourner.