Monday, January 10, 2011

Gianna's Funeral Mass

Father Tom Nathe blesses Gianna's casket at her funeral Mass.

Gianna surrounded by her siblings; 
my favorite of the many beautiful photos displayed at the funeral reception

If you've been to a funeral for a child, you know how heart wrenching the experience can be.
And yet, Gianna's funeral Saturday was a great joy.

In the homily, Father Nathe brilliantly linked the joy a father would feel at handing his daughter off in marriage to her groom (knowing he was the right one for his daughter)... to the joy a father would feel at placing his daughter's casket at the foot of the altar, as Gianna's dad, Ray, had done only moments earlier.
A father, inclined to feelings of sadness, too, at the moment his daughter takes her new husband's hand, would be deeply grateful of their new union.  His solace comes from knowing that his joy will increase and multiply when new life (grandchildren) come forth as a result of his daughter's new life with her husband.
As Gianna was placed, her casket draped in the white garment (pall) which signified her baptism, her parents (though torn with grief) shared the joy of her new life with Christ and all the angels and saints.

Please keep Ann Mary and Ray and their family in your prayers.  Gianna's burial is tomorrow.

On Sunday, the day Catholics worldwide celebrated the Baptism of Jesus, I attended Mass at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Bremerton.  Star of the Sea re-introduced a centuries-old Christmas tradition called Kindelwiegen (cradle-rocking).  A beautifully handcrafted cradle holding the infant Jesus stood at the foot of the altar, and after Mass young and old worshipers came forward to gently rock the cradle.

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