Loving Memories Inspire Gifts Of Love
|Volume 13, No. 2
Ever since my wife, Presbytera Mary, departed unto the Lord nineteen years ago, I have been leading a Grief Support and Growth Group as a retired priest in the parish I served for 44 years. Leading such a group has helped me cope with my own grief. Losing a loved one after 42 years of living and working together in the closest of human relationships – marriage – is painfully unsettling. It is a time when, in addition to our faith in the resurrected Christ, the grieving person needs caring people to stand by him/her.
In looking at ways that help one cope with grief, I came upon the healing involved in continuing to offer gifts in memory of the deceased loved one. Thus, for several years now I have been sending a monthly check to IOCC in memory of my beloved wife. I cannot describe the comfort this brings me: to sit down every month and write a check to IOCC that will translate into deeds of love worldwide, enabling those in need to experience tangibly the love and care of God. Although she is now with the Lord, Mary is continuing her ministry of love in the name of Jesus through these memorial gifts. In the words of St. Anthony, "What profit is there in acquiring those things that we cannot take with us? Why do we not acquire those things that we can take with us: namely ... Godly love, love for the poor, faith in Christ ... hospitality? If we possess these things, we will find them going before us, preparing lodging for us in the land of the gentle."
Father Anthony Coniaris, who has served the Church for over fifty years, is a noted Orthodox author and President of Light & Life Publishing Company in Minneapolis, Minn. He is Pastor emeritus of St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church, Minneapolis.