Suggestions For Choosing The Right Memorial Prayer

In many faiths, the idea of including a memorial prayer during the funeral service or even at the grave site is traditional. While some traditions have specific words that must be used, others allow more room for the development of prayers that help to say something specific about the recently deceased. If you are in charge of planning the order for an upcoming funeral service, here are some suggestions on what to include in the memorial prayer.

Opting for Scripture Passages

One way to formulate the prayer is to rely on the writings accepted as scripture by the faith that the deceased espoused. Talk with loved ones and identify passages that had special meaning for the individual. In many cases, the words will fit neatly into a prayer by doing nothing more than adding a few preparatory remarks in front and then some sort of closing blessing at the end.

Honoring the Life of the Deceased

Another approach is to formulate a prayer that focuses on the roles that the deceased filled over the years. Reminding those assembled of roles such as parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, sibling, or best friend can be powerful. Including a reference to some event that most of those present will remember is also a nice touch. In this sense, the memorial prayer also serves as a testimonial to the life of the person who is now gone.

A Favorite Poem

Many people draw strength from the use of poetry. If the deceased was fond of a certain poet or perhaps was in the habit of reading a specific poem regularly, what could possibly make a better memorial? Sharing words that resonated with the deceased during life will in a way help mourners feel as if there is at least a little of the deceased still with them every time they hear those words.

Drawing on the Hobbies and Interests of the Deceased

37fThere is no rule that says the subject matter for the prayer has to be completely serious. In fact, some people hate the idea of funerals and memorial services simply because they would rather their loved ones laugh instead of cry. If this is the case, think about adding some tasteful levity to the service by drafting a prayer focusing on the things that the departed loved to do.

There are plenty of good memories to tap into if the deceased loved a certain sport, enjoyed knitting or crocheting gifts for loved ones, or was always the one to sit down at the piano and get the party rolling. Calling attention to those things during the prayer will go a long way toward ensuring those assembled do have a chance to smile and remember the things that gave the deceased joy.

Remember that the only wrong way to formulate the memorial prayer is to use words that the deceased would find inappropriate. Choose wisely and everyone present will appreciate what is said. Take it one step further and have memorial cards printed that everyone can take with them at the end of the service. Doing so provides something they can hold onto as they grieve in the months to come.

A Cenacle Retreat Offers Spiritual Renewal

A Cenacle retreat provides the opportunity for individuals to examine the presence of God in their lives and develop a closer and deeper relationship with him. The quietness and solitude of the retreat promotes meditation, personal prayer and reflection. Retreat locations are open to lay individuals from all denominations, not just Roman Catholic. All adults, single and married, men and women were welcomed.

Early Beginnings

The Roman Catholic Sisters of the Cenacle opened a hostel for women in France in 1826, initially offering service to all women. The ministry soon attained a retreat status when the decision was made to provide lodging only to those willing to spend time in purposeful prayer. The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola were used as guidelines for women to learn about Jesus and to love and follow him. In 1844, the ministry changed its name to the Cenacle, after the Upper Room, called the Cenacle in Latin, where those of like spirit and mission gathered with Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

The Cenacle Today

east-room-jFToday, there are Cenacle retreat centers in Atlanta, Houston, and Ronkonkoma NY, as well as a retreat and conference center in Chicago. The ministry expanded to fourteen other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, England, Madagascar, Togo and the Philippines.

In addition to retreat services being offered in Cenacle Centers, many others take place in community centers, parishes, and in private homes. Individuals wanting to find out about retreat opportunities in their area should check the Cenacle website and call the closest retreat center.

What to Expect

The focus of Cenacle ministry is individual, congregational and Church prayer. The intent is to create an environment of faith, one which will be sacred to the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Cenacle is a place where individuals can search for a deeper relationship with their God. This happens through a variety of seminars, workshops, spiritual programs and retreats. Some Centers like the one in Chicago offer a variety of presentations over the year on specific topics such as a Lenten Taize Prayer Service.

Some retreats are designed to provide a contemplative and quiet atmosphere, promoting reflection and prayer. Other programs offer opportunities to interact with others for mutual support and sharing. All retreats are sacred periods of time when God is actively transforming lives.

Programs and Retreats

Individuals have a broad variety of programs from which to choose. Some are designed to develop increased understanding of the rich history of Catholic spirituality. Other programs and retreats incorporate both secular and sacred, as well as the spiritual and psychological. Group retreats are usually held on weekends, although there are many weekday and evening programs available as well.

Examples of Cenacle retreat which may be available in a given location include:
• Retreats starting with a morning speaker, followed by special readings, personal prayer and sharing of the Eucharist, with participants spending the day in silence
• A 3 to 8 day retreat or even one extended to 30 days allowing opportunity for prayerful solitude, under the direction of a retreat director to help clarify what God is saying
• Private retreat in days of prayer allowing individuals to spend time in reflection and prayer, with optional meetings with a Cenacle Sister
• Special program retreats such as prayer and study of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola

Join a Cenacle Retreat and learn about Jesus. Learn how to enrich and develop a closer relationship with Him. Expect a happier and fuller life through awakened conviction and deepened faith.