A Prayer Service of Psalms...For Those Who Are Mourning

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McMahon, Linda
Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology
This pastoral project is focused on identifying one way to offer comfort to mourners who come from both the Jewish and the Catholic faith traditions. When a blended Jewish and Catholic family face the death of a loved one, they may seek to come together in prayer to honor the deceased while drawing strength from their own faith tradition. This project is born out of my personal experience of the death of my brother’s Jewish wife on July 20, 2002 and our joint family gathering for a Memorial Service on July 24, 2002. The presiding rabbi crafted a Memorial Service that was respectful of both Jewish and Catholic rituals and beliefs. We, as a blended family, however, had not prepared ourselves for the inevitability of this service and had not considered what would each bring us comfort. Touched by the rabbi’s utmost sensitivity to our mourning and to our traditions, we were truly blessed in this service. Questions lingered, however, among us as to how to understand each other’s theology and prayer. This project, therefore, is one attempt to identify a need for prior dialogue among members of a blended Jewish and Catholic family so that decisions can be made and a deeper understanding of each other’s rites and prayers can be gained beforehand. The hope is that when Jews and Catholics come together as mourners, they can be blessing to one another and be comforted.