Photos were placed on display at a reception following a Jan. 26 Mass for widows and widowers at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples.

Mass held for widows and widowers

Naples | A Mass was recently celebrated with intentions not only for the spouses who have gone before, but also for the widows and widowers so they “will find peace and find a healing hand of the Lord in the void that you have experienced in life.”

Bishop Frank J. Dewane complimented the widows and widowers for their strength, serving as an inspiration and gift to the community while they go forward in their faith, even with a loss of a shared life that may continue to strike them deeply.

The Mass for the Widows and Widowers in the Diocese of Venice was held Jan. 26, at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples. Hundreds gathered for the Mass which served as an important opportunity to recognize those who have suffered the loss of a spouse. This is the second year that this Mass has taken place.

“What a beautiful Mass,” said Gloria Howell, a seasonal resident from Maryland and parishioner at St. Agnes Parish in Naples. “It is so special to have the Bishop recognize us who have suffered such a personal loss.”

As a widow, Howell said she often feels alone and left out of things but has persevered to continue in her daily life. She would have been married 49 years (to Paul) this March. “I miss Paul every day in the two years since he has been gone. I am comforted by my faith in the hope and prayer that we will be together again someday.”

“As a married couple, you served to inspire others in their commitment to God and to each other,” Bishop Dewane said. “As a widow or widower, you are called to a new life now as you continue to serve as examples for others to follow as you live your life and faith with dignity. As Pope Francis states, ‘you still have a mission to carry out, a full life of dignity, purpose and mission.’”

A reception followed in the Parish Hall where photos, shared by attendees, were on display for all to see. Each showed the lost loved one in happier times. Each participant at the Mass was given a prayer card of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, patron saint of Widows and Widowers.

The Mass Honoring Widows and Widowers came as a direct result of the Wedding Anniversary Masses which are held in the northern and southern portions of the Diocese each year to recognize those who have been married for significant numbers of years.

A volunteer at one such Mass noted that she would have preferred to have been at the Mass as a participant but had recently lost her husband and inquired with the Bishop as to what the Diocese does for widows and widowers.

The first Mass was in January 2019 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice and will rotate each year between the northern and southern portions of the Diocese to accommodate the need.