Mass of Healing and Reconciliation held for those mourning loss of a child

By Jennika Baines
SUN Assoc. Editor

At the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Oct. 15, Father Joseph Scardella began his homily for the Mass of Healing and Reconciliation by considering the many issues that can arise in modern relationships.

“Marriage, family, family values, abortion, the death of a child, an unexpected pregnancy, conception, raising children, chastity, stem cell research, and in case those aren’t enough issues,” he said, “let’s throw in health care for good measure.”

All of these topics draw heated discussions and all, Father Scardella said, have clear Church teaching.

“But my guess is that the clear Church teaching will not do away with the arguments,“ he said. “We are a complicated people, a less than ideal people.”

These complicated modern relationships can become even more difficult when parents face the loss of a child.

The Mass of Healing and Reconciliation was celebrated by Bishop Robert J. Cunningham for parents, family members and friends who have suffered the loss of a child by any means, including illness, miscarriage, abortion or those who struggle with infertility. During the Mass, those gathered could write a name or intention for prayer that was collected during the offeratory.

Father Scardella encouraged those gathered to approach their relationships with thoughtfulness and compassion. “The beautiful highway of love is filled with litter, a few potholes, lots of cracks and a few detours here and there,” he said.

In loving relationships, there are always moments of struggle and tension, he said, but the way through these times is to rely less on condemnation, and more on honesty, calmness and respect.

“Let us ask how we can do better in our relationships, how we can be agents of healing while needing that healing ourselves,” Father Scardella said.

He urged those gathered to remember that their faith is founded on the belief that they will be reunited with loved ones. “We believe that all of us will be together,” Father Scardella said. “What we experience here will reach its fulfillment in heaven.”

He said that each of us hungers for a life that is worthy and genuine, for true intimacy with loved ones and for the knowledge that it is good that we exist. He said that Jesus teaches all to search for what is right and good in life.

“My life is a gift, my life is not my own. Life is grace,” he said. “We live through grace so we also live with hope. Our hope lives in Jesus alone.”

Father Scardella said that Jesus reached a harmony between his prayer life, his behavior and his relationships and encouraged those gathered to do the same.

“How are you going to clear your heart of anything that isn’t love? Only through communion with Christ.”

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