13 June 2011

An amazing privilege

Today's round of pre-funeral visiting has reinforced a view I already held about priesthood; the feeling of privilege at being allowed into people's lives at the most difficult of times.

I felt enormously privileged to be able to be with people as they planned the funerals of their loved ones. Both women we visited today were truly grateful for the visit from the parish priest and me. Watching my supervisor and the way he operated was truly educational, and I feel lucky to be working with him, but the real privilege was being permitted to be with people; not delivering pithy answers or platitudes, but simply being with them for a little while, and letting them know that they mattered to the church and to God.

One of the things that has stuck with me from the Pastoral Studies course I sat this year is that, as a culture, we have forgotten how to grieve. Today reminded me that a large part of the church's role in a place like Sheringham is to give people the support and the structures in which they can be allowed to grieve. I always knew funeral ministry was important; today just confirmed it for me.

The good thing about a 2 month placement is that with these, and probably the next few funeral visits I'm involved in, I will be able to be involved in the funeral itself. This is important for me as funerals have always been my emotional achilles heel (I'm a bit of a blubber when I get going). But as I get further into training, I feel like I'm starting to bring it all into a kind of professional perspective. That's not to say that I think I can turn off my feelings - I hope I'll always feel things deeply - but I think I'm starting to see what my role will be as a Priest. Just don't ask me to define it just yet.

1 comment:

  1. I like your blubbing. Wouldn't have you any other way!