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The ways parishes cope with grief and
loss are many and varied.
When there is the sad news of the loss of a
loved one, funeral directors and/or families
contact the parish or parish priest and
there is a short amount of time to prepare
a respectful and prayerful farewell in which
to celebrate the life of the deceased.
Sometimes the family is well known to
the parish and the priest, or a member
of the pastoral care team may have been
journeying with the family through some
difficult times. In other cases, this contact
might be from someone who knows the
Church is there for them at these times,
however it may have been some time
since they have been involved or attended
Either way this is a precious and
vulnerable time for families; parishes do
all they can to work with family members
to ensure the funeral service or Requiem
Mass is meaningful and reflects the life of
their loved one. One of the most rewarding
aspects of being part of the bereavement
team is being able to encourage ‘non-
churched’ members of the family to
contribute to the service in ways that are
important to them. Some parishes also are
able to offer hospitality and follow-up.
Parishioners often express the desire to
pre-plan a funeral service. This may be
because their children are not church-
goers or they have a family member with
a terminal illness. The bereavement team
works with the person and will keep their
service on file until needed.
Formation has been offered in various
ways through the Archdiocese for
bereavement teams, pastoral associates,
pastoral care teams and individuals.
A group of experienced people in the
area of grief and loss from Adelaide have
written and prepared an online course
which is one of the Dayton University
courses offered through the Ministry
Formation Program. The Office for Worship
has also offered short courses for parishes
in this area.
Pam Priadko, a volunteer for the Catholic
Communities Office, has worked with
several parishes to help establish
a bereavement team or to offer an
opportunity for existing teams to review
their processes, and to reflect on their
ministry and to have some formation time
With Catholic Communities Office
manager Jill Gallio, she offers the Seasons
for Growth Adult Program (developed by
the Sisters of St Joseph) for those who
are experiencing grief and loss to have an
opportunity to work through their grief in a
very gentle way over a four-week period.
Some feel the need to do this soon after
their loss but others may not feel ready
until several years have passed. Seasons
for Growth also offer “Understanding Grief
and Loss” which is for groups of up to 25
and run over four hours.
As with all special times in the life cycle
of a family, the services the diocese and
parishes offer are crucial and are times of
valued connection. It is also an opportunity
to build relationships in an ongoing way
through friendship, prayer outreach and
invitation, particularly in this Year of Mercy.
In our special feature on death and grief, we begin with a look
at how parishes provide support for the bereaved, followed by
trends in funerals, the growing demand for memorial gardens
and other issues related to dying.
UNDERSTANDING: Pam Priadko and Jill Gallio with the Seasons for Growth booklet
prepared by the Sisters of St Joseph.
The Siebert family tradition of uncompromising
service, personal attention, and true compassion
began in a time when South Australia was only
30 years old; in a world without electricity,
without motor cars, without telephones – reliant
on word of mouth, hard work and doing the best
you could with what you had.
Joseph B. Siebert started this family tradition in
1867, opening a Funeral Parlour in Coglin Street,
Adelaide. Joseph was joined by his sons Francis,
Vincent and John, and in 1911 Francis (Frank J)
opened a second ‘outlet’ of the business in
Wakefield Street. Frank J Siebert Funeral
Directors continues to operate from those
Wakefield Street premises 105 years later.
Eventually Frank’s sons Joseph, Peter and
Frank Jr came to work alongside him, and
in due course, Joseph became the manager
of Frank J Siebert Funeral Directors.
In the best traditions of family
businesses, after Joseph’s sudden death,
his widow, Betty, and their son, Bernard,
managed the business for the next 45 years.
And in 2015, with Bernard’s daughter Natasha
purchasing the business, Frank J Siebert
Funeral Directors passed to the fifth generation
of the Siebert family.
Just as you could back in 1867, you can depend upon
the same service, attention and compassion from
the Siebert family today – and tomorrow.
Ph: 8223 5879 (24 Hours)
49 Wakefield Street Adelaide SA 5000
Why prepare a funeral liturgy?
Preparing your funeral liturgy is a bit like preventative health or financial advice –
dealing with the situation before it becomes a difficult issue.
1. How often have we heard a friend say
on hearing a hymn or reading ‘I want that
at my funeral?’ Who will remember? It’s
important to write it down.
2. The bereavement team often sees the
difficulties families have in preparing a
funeral when they are in a state of shock
or grieving. It would be so much easier for
the family if they had some guidelines on
3. Is a “good funeral” one in which the
essence of the person is captured in the
liturgy, eulogy, prayers and readings?
Is this what we want? If so, we need to
document what we want beforehand.
4. How often we see the reverse, where
we come away from a funeral empty and
sad, because the life of the person was
not reflected in the service.
5. It is likely that most of us would see
a funeral as an opportunity to celebrate
a life. It is often difficult in a time of
grief and worry, with so many things to
think about, to capture the element of
celebration so “out of preparation can
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