Throughout the year, we present an article in the bulletin each week on a variety of topics, written by a member of our Parish staff on a rotating basis.
From The Coordinator Of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity
by Corey Shorter
Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is reserved to celebrate our loved ones who have passed away. Typically when we think of our deceased loved ones, we’re overcome with grief and sadness, but this day is special because it challenges us to find joy in the midst of our pain.
Last year was my first year at St. Margaret of Scotland, and I remember seeing the altar in the cafeteria with all the decorations and pictures on it. At that moment, I didn’t fully understand the concept of the altar, until one of my third graders showed me a picture he had placed on the altar. It was a photo of him as a baby being held by his grandpa. He told me that his grandpa had recently passed away, and he wanted to honor his memory. I thought to myself that is a really cool way to honor our deceased loved ones.
So I’m going to take his advice and honor my grandfather and my great-uncle (his older brother). My Grandfather was born in Aliceville, Alabama in 1918. My grandfather was the youngest of 7 siblings. He faced some difficult challenges early on because when he was just eight months old, his natural mother died and that left his dad with 7 young kids to raise. Her last words were to her oldest son and that was to “look after his siblings”. So as time went on, everyone grew up, and my grandfather, along with a few of his brothers, enlisted in the United States Army and served our country during World War 2. After the war, they all settled in different states and raised families. As the years went on, his siblings grew older and died – to where eventually, it was just my grandfather and his oldest brother remaining out of the 7 siblings. Then in 2001, my grandfather got sick and passed away that year at the age of 83. Being the only one of his siblings left, my great-uncle realized that he had fulfilled his mother’s wish to watch after all of his younger siblings. So just nine months after my grandfather died, my great-uncle passed away too at the age of 93. His job was done.
The key takeaway I want us to remember from this passage is that even though our loved ones aren’t physically here with us, we must continue to carry them in our hearts – and when we do think of them, let’s fill that empty void where sadness once resided with joy. For in Psalm 30:5, it says, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning”.