Share their pain, seek hope

METAMORA — “Very helpful.”

“I think it’s fantastic.”

“It’s about time we had something like this.”

“Very happy to be here.”

In comments shared after the Diocese of Peoria’s first Widowed and Divorced Day of Recollection, which was held last Saturday at St. Mary’s Church in Lourdes, participants told of the benefits of coming together for prayer and reflection, and how moved they were by the words of encouragement, consolation and healing they heard.

About 70 widowed or divorced Catholics came to the day of recollection, some of them driving two hours or more for the gathering. The speaker was Msgr. William Watson, pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Peoria Heights.

The day was planned by the Diocesan Widowed and Divorced Advisory Board. The 11-member board oversees ministry to widowed and divorced Catholics in coordination with the diocesan Office of Pastoral Services.

The board’s next outreach is the Diocesan Mass for the Widowed and Divorced, which is planned for Sunday, Oct. 12, at 3:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria. Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, will celebrate the Mass and then greet people at a reception in the new Spalding Pastoral Center.

The daylong spiritual retreat on Aug. 16 offered time for small group discussions. During this time, participants talked about their experiences of grief and pain and offered feedback to help the diocese better serve those who have experienced the loss of a spouse through death or divorce.

The day of recollection ended with Mass in the church. After Mass, each person received a blessed crucifix that Msgr. Watson recently had brought from Rome.

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