Tuesday 29 March 2022

Prayers for Grieving Parents - Nick Donnelly - CTS Prayers and Devotions

Prayers for Grieving Parents
Help After A Miscarriage Or Still Birth
Nick Donnelly
Catholic Truth Society
eISBN 9781784693473
CTS Booklet D713

This is the tenth title from the pen of Deacon Nick Donnelley that I have read over the last four years. Most of them I have read more than once. This booklet is another excellent offering from his pen. I read it over a few days:. I said in a review of Donnelly’s, Finding God in Doubt and Disbelief:

“The greatest strength of this volume is the personal examples from Deacon Nick. Wow! His vulnerability, and transparency are deeply moving, and I am certain will be encouraging to readers. His sharing about losing siblings and his own children is very honest and raw.”

And those words are just as true about this work. And in some ways even more so as Deacon Nick goes into a lot of details about his own struggles with losing their children. The description of this volume is:

“This book offers advice for parents whose child has died through miscarriage or stillbirth. On dealing with grief, what practical steps can help, and with great sensitivity the answers to many questions of faith that such a loss can provoke.

This book of prayers, practical advice, meditations and services has been written for parents whose child has died through miscarriage or stillbirth. It offers sound advice on dealing with grief, what practical steps can help, and articulates with great sensitivity the answers to the many burning questions of faith that such a loss can provoke. It will also assist those ministering to parents.”

The chapters in this small volume are:

Purpose of this booklet
Grieving for an unborn child
Things that can help
7 Questions to place before God
Prayers for parents
Jesus shares our suffering
Liturgical Services
     Suggested Blessing of Parents after a Miscarriage
     Shorter Rite for Blessing of Parents after a Miscarriage
     Suggested Order of Naming and Commendation of an Unborn Child
     Funeral Mass for an Unborn Child
     Funeral Liturgy outside Mass for an Unborn Child
Further help

I have not lost a child to either miscarriage or still birth, but I know many who have. I have walked beside them. And this volume is an excellent resource for them as well. Deacon Nick states in the ‘Purpose For This Book’:

“I know, through talking with other parents, that our experience of grieving is something we share in common with tens of thousands of couples who struggle with the tragedy of miscarriage and still birth every year. It is my hope that other mothers and fathers who are grieving about the death of their daughter or son will find this booklet helpful.

It’s just as important that other people, including clergy, religious and laity involved in bereavement ministry, realise the depth of grief suffered by couples through miscarriage or still birth. It’s not uncommon for couples to suffer the added burden of others behaving as if miscarriage is not really the death of a child.

It is my hope that this booklet will encourage others in the Catholic Church to develop pastoral provision for couples bereaved by miscarriage and still birth. To this end, a number of services especially composed by the Church for the care of the unborn child and grieving are included for ministers to use in their support of these families parents.

Finally, it is well known that many women who have had abortions suffer guilt and grief over the death of their child, for which they desperately need healing. I truly hope that this booklet helps them, and their partners, find the loving mercy of God, and the hope that one day they will be re-united with their little ones.”

In the next section of the book he states:

“It is important to understand the nature of grief, because it can have an enormous effect on all our relationships, including our relationship with God. I have found that prayer is one of the things that I need to do most as a grieving parent, but it is also one of the hardest things to do.

Grief over the death of a child is not merely one of the most intense emotions that we can experience, but it is a state of existence that at times makes normal life difficult, if not impossible. Things that we have taken for granted, like work, friendships, prayer, going out to do the shopping or attending Mass, can become difficult, even unbearable. The sight of pregnant women and babies, or baby clothes and toys, can trigger desperate feelings of loss, anger, jealousy or guilt.

At times grief can be all consuming, leaving no aspect of our personality or inner-life untouched. It can be like waking up into a nightmare world in which we have become a different person – pain-racked, desperate, and despairing. Sometimes it feels like the only possible thing that could take away the pain is to hold our baby tight in our arms, but that one thing that we long to do is impossible.”

As mentioned Deacon Donnelly writes from his personal experience, and his experience walking along side others. It is at times raw, but it is also open, honest and it help provides a framework for home and healing. And for me even just reading through the possible liturgical services was moving. 

This is an excellent volume. It is one of those booklets that I will pick up a few copies to always have on hand; so that I can give one out when the need or situation arises. I double there are any of us who do not know someone who has lost a child to either miscarriage or still birth, or had an abortion and now struggle with that past decision, this is a volume to help you help them. It is a great tool for us to walk with them in their grief, sorrow and sadness. 

I continue to try and tracked down some of Deacon Nick’s other older works that are out of print. I look forward to reading more from his pen. This is an excellent read from the CTS, and from the pen of Deacon Nick Donnelly.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

For reviews of other books in the CTS Devotions series click here.

Books by Nick Donnelly:
Finding God Series:

Finding God in Anger and Bitterness
Finding God in Doubt and Disbelief
Finding God When Prayer Doesn't Work
Finding God When a Loved One Loses Faith

Other Books by Nick Donelly:
Living with Illness and Suffering
Hope and Healing: Living with Illness and Suffering
Prayers for Grieving Parents: Help After a Miscarriage or Still Birth
Praying the Rosary with the Martyrs
Praying The Creed In The Year Of Faith
Praying the Rosary with the Saints

With Pope Francis Series:
Loving Mary: What Pope Francis Says
Finding Forgiveness with Pope Francis
Stations of the Cross with Pope Francis
Who Is the Devil? What Pope Francis Says
Our Journey to Christmas: With Pope Francis

Fiction by Nick Donnelly:
Ben Armstrong Adventure Series Series:
Curse of the Seawolf
Snare of the Demons
Faith of the Armstrong
Fury of the Dragons

Unattributed books cowritten\ghost written by Nick Donnelly:
Priesthood Today
Fit for Mission? Church
Fit for Mission? Schools
Fit for Mission? Marriage
Fit for Mission? A Guide

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