Our Faithful Departed
Where They Are and Why It Matters
by Leonard J. DeLorenzo, the McGrath Institute for Church Life
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Pub Date 11 Nov 2022 | Archive Date Not set
When someone we love dies, it’s difficult to look beyond our grief to understand that they are still with us.
And yet we hear in the funeral liturgy that “life is changed not ended.” In Our Faithful Departed, University of Notre Dame theologian Leonard J. DeLorenzo shows us what this means and how we are called to remain faithful in our relationships with the dead.
“Those whom we have known and loved in this life we have only known and loved partially, imperfectly,” DeLorenzo writes. “In heaven, what has been partial shall be made complete, and what has been imperfect shall be perfected.”
He explains that the Catholic Church teaches that heaven is not so much a place as it is a perfect communion in Christ where the living and the dead are forever united.
In this book, you will learn that:
· St. Teresa of Calcutta thought of her own life as a practice for heaven;
· the Eucharist is a prayer for the dead, an offering brought to the altar;
· Día de los Muertos is an understanding that death is not the opposite of life, but part of it;
· Christ wants us to broaden and deepen our notions of the body;
· we can practice communion with the dead by praying for them, remembering them by name during the Mass, sharing memories of them, and celebrating them in devotional practices.
DeLorenzo relates his own story of the loss of his grandparents and shares heartwarming experiences from other Catholics—including Laura Kelly Fanucci, Stephanie DePrez, and John Cavadini—who have felt the connection with their lost friends and loved ones.
DeLorenzo said that the Church must encourage communion with the dead through public acts such as Eucharistic processions, prayer, monthly adoration with prayers for the souls in purgatory, and by accompanying the grieving with tenderness and compassion.
A free small-group discussion guide is available at avemariapress.com.
Books in the Engaging Catholicism series from the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame help readers discover the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith through a concise exploration of the Church’s most important but often difficult-to-grasp doctrines as well as crucial pastoral and spiritual practices.
A Note From the Publisher
Through the McGrath Institute, DeLorenzo is developing the Sullivan Family Saints Initiative, devoted to fostering scholarship on, and devotion to, the saints. He also launched, produces, and hosts Church Life Today––a popular radio show and podcast. In addition to writing books, articles, and essays, he speaks regularly in academic and pastoral settings on the saints, biblical catechesis, vocation and discernment, and the theological imagination, among other topics.
“Thought provoking and Christ-centered. This powerful read is for all believers who search for soulful answers to life’s biggest challenge—the loss of our precious loved ones. DeLorenzo bears witness to the truth: tending to the spiritual side of grieving is the surest path to hope, healing, and consolation.”
M. Donna MacLeod
Author of the Seasons of Hope bereavement ministry series
“Death is a universal reality of human existence and this book will help you learn how to remember, how to grieve, and ultimately how to love.”
Dr. Kristin Collier
Director of the University of Michigan Medical School program on health, spirituality, and religion
“An important addition to the bookshelf of anyone involved in grief ministry in the Catholic Church.”
Deacon Ed Shoener
President of the Association of Catholic Mental Health Ministers
“Leonard DeLorenzo shows us how to apply the Church's teachings to our everyday experience and let them shape the way we live and the way we grieve. I want to give this book to everyone who is grieving.”
Director of formation at Immaculate Heart Academy
West Milford, New Jersey
Available on NetGalley
An excellent exploration of the Catholic teachings about death. Written in clear easy to understand language the book draws on the writing of popes and saints as well as the experiences of ordinary people to give us consolation, comfort and ways to remember and pray for the dead.
At some point in each of our lives, we will face the death of a loved one. So many of us already have. Some of those losses will hit harder than others,
Our Faithful Departed is a look at what happens when we lose a loved one. This book is full of personal stories that help to illustrate the Church’s teachings on death and what it means for those of us still here.
It is so easy to feel like our loved ones are gone, that we are separated from them until it is our time to die. As the author explains, that is not the case. Just as humans were made for communion, so that remains when a loved one has passed. Not only are we called to pray for them, but we can also ask them for prayer too. They are busy waiting to be reunited with their loved ones. The truth is that they never really leave us, our departed are still with us, albeit differently than when they were here with us.
I appreciated the depth of the church’s teachings in this book along with the stories. As someone who has dealt with a lot of lose during the past two years, this book was both thought provoking and comforting. It also helped me see new ways I need to be praying for both those I know that have died and those I do not know.
I voluntarily received a copy of this book from Ave Maria Press. All views are my honest opinion.
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