WelCom November 2017: On Saturday morning 14 October, to coincide with national Mental Health Awareness Week last month, 100 people from the Catholic Parish of Whanganui – Te Parihi Katorika a Ki Whanganui – gathered around the altar in St Anne’s Catholic Church for a Memorial Mass. Celebrated by parish priest Fr Marcus Francis and assisted by Fr Dondon Rancho and Fr John Roberts, the Mass was for those affected by suicide.
Opened to the wider city community, it was an occasion to pray for those who had taken their own lives, and for healing and mercy for family and friends left behind.
Fr Marcus said, ‘Mass is the most effective way of opening us all up to God’s mercy and healing. Nothing – absolutely nothing – can come between us and love of Christ.’
There were three poignant moments during Mass. After the homily, people were invited to light a candle for their loved-one and to place it on a decorated table in front of the sanctuary steps. Pausing during the Commemoration of the Dead in the Eucharistic Prayer, the 48 names of those who had died to suicide, written down in the All Souls Day Remembrance book, were read aloud. And those not receiving Communion were given a special blessing.
Morning tea that followed allowed time to talk in a safe environment.