Elizabeth Ministry Launch – Vancouver, BC

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Day

Please join us at these two events, we’d love to meet you!  More info. can be found on the events page.

Read Archbishop J. Michael Miller’s message for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.  It is wonderful to have support from the Archdiocese of Vancouver and Catholic Cemeteries for Elizabeth Ministry, thank you!

Watch the promo video

Nov. 5, 2016 Infant & Child Remembrance Service

St. Nicholas R.C. Church - 20675 87th Ave., Langley, BC

Remembrance Mass Service: 9:00 am

“Teddy Bear” Tea Reception: 10:00 am hosted by St. Nicholas Parish/Elizabeth Ministry

*RSVP: A response is kindly requested, but not necessary:  info(at)littlelightofheaven.com

Families are welcome to bring a photo and/or mementos of their infants or children to share.

Prayers will be included for parents and family members who wish to honour the lives of all children gone-too-soon, including;

- Children of any age

- Infants & Toddlers

- Babies lost shortly after birth and through Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

- Pre-born babies and those who have died during pregnancy for any reason (e.g. ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, complications and stillbirth)

Couples who are trying to conceive and those struggling with infertility; parents who are expecting and those on a waiting list to adopt; as well as parents who lovingly chose to give up and/or welcome children through adoption will also be remembered on this day.  We will also pray for families touched by abortion.

TEDDY BEAR TEA

Everyone is welcome to attend the reception immediately after the service.  Families will be offered a teddy bear in honour of their child/ren through Elizabeth Ministry.

Families can enter the name of their child in the “Little Book of Life” and light a candle for their little one.

This event is open to everyone from all faiths and backgrounds, especially bereaved parents and other family members including children, as well as those who support grieving families.

We will be collecting donated wedding/bridesmaid dresses and grad gowns (any colour) for BC Angel Dresses.  Please bring your dresses to the social and they will be lovingly sewn into burial garments for babies.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

*Elizabeth Ministry is a faith-based, peer mentorship volunteer organization that celebrates the sanctity of life and honours the lives of all children.

We’re looking for volunteers to assist!  Please contact:

info (at) littlelightofheaven.com

Infant & Child Memorial Service – June 13

Please join us on Sat., June 13, 2015 for the Infant & Child Memorial Service & Teddy Bear Tea at St. Matthew’s Parish - 16079 88 Ave., Surrey, BC (Canada).

TeddyBears

Shutterstock image

The Memorial Mass will start at 5:30 pm and the “Teddy Bear” Tea & Social hosted by St. Matthew’s Parish, Elizabeth Ministry and CWL will follow..  ALL are welcome, including children.

Please. email Ann, Elizabeth Minister at St. Matthew’s R.C. Parish annamsing@yahoo.com for more information.

Light of Life LLoH
“Light of Life” by Libby Dulac

Prayers will be included for parents & family members who wish to celebrate and honour the lives of children gone-too-soon, including toddlers and infants, as well as babies who have died during birth and pre-born babies lost during pregnancy.

*If anyone is interested in bringing snacks to share, that would be much appreciated!

Infant & Child Memorial Mass June 1

Please join us on Sun., June 1, 2014 for the Infant & Child Memorial Service & Teddy Bear Tea at St. Matthew’s Parish - 16079 88 Ave., Surrey, BC (Canada).

TeddyBears

Shutterstock image

The Memorial Mass will start at 2:00 pm and the “Teddy Bear” Tea & Social hosted by St. Matthew’s Parish, Elizabeth Ministry and CWL will follow..  ALL are welcome, including children.

Please. email Ann, Elizabeth Minister at St. Matthew’s R.C. Parish annamsing@yahoo.com for more information.

Light of Life LLoH

“Light of Life” by Libby Dulac

Prayers will be included for parents & family members who wish to celebrate and honour the lives of children gone-too-soon, including toddlers and infants, as well as babies who have died during birth and pre-born babies lost during pregnancy.

*If anyone is interested in bringing snacks to share, that would be much appreciated!

Click here for more information about past Infant & Child Remembrance Services.

2nd Annual Feast of the Holy Innocents Infant Loss Service

For some, Christmas is about the joy of having family and little ones around and for this reason, the holiday season can be difficult for those whose infants have died.  Last evening, grieving parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends braved the cold, rainy weather and gathered in the warm atmosphere at St. Ann’s Parish for their 2nd annual Infant Remembrance Mass in Abbotsford.

This candlelight service was offered just a few days after Christmas on Dec.28th for the celebration of the Feast of the Holy Innocents and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.  Pastor James Hughes noted that it was not by mistake that this date was chosen for this special Mass. 

During the service, families were invited to honour their infants by lighting a candle and placing the votives on a table in front of the altar.  As more and more candles were set beside one another, the lights emitted a peaceful glow and dancing shadows were seen on the white table cloth during the Mass.  Close by, the Infant Jesus was displayed in a manger with His arms stretched out to welcome us.

Well over 100 people attended this solemn event traveling from as far away as Washington State, the Sunshine Coast as well as parts of the Greater Vancouver area.  Many people of various ages, backgrounds and faiths attended.  “I wish we had a service like this in my community” a grieving mother said to me.  ”It is nice for our children to meet others who understand what it is like to lose a sibling,” another mom and dad shared.   

In his homily, Father openly shared that he has grown to appreciate the need to reach out to families suffering from infant loss due to ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, fatal diagnosis, pregnancy complications, stillbirth, illness and sudden infant death.  “These children are also considered ‘Holy Innocents’ and have the important role of praying for us” he explained.  Father James went on to say that the pain of couples struggling with infertility also needs to be recognized.  He also praised and prayed for bereavement support workers and professionals dedicated to assisting these families.  

At the reception, families were invited to sign a Book of Life and choose a hand-decorated pot of forget-me-not flowers.  It is important to note that when Devan Greenhouses heard what the plants were for, they insisted that the pots were to be donated as a gift from the nursery to bereaved families.  The evening was kindly coordinated by Fr. James and a number of families at the Parish.  We are thankful for so many blessings! 

It was comforting to meet other bereaved parents and families at this event.  I was happy to greet familiar faces and meet some new friends too.  Thank you to the team of ladies led by Jody at St. Ann’s  for organizing such a wonderful remembrance service for our children.  Special thanks to Father Hughes for your amazing support. 

Click here for a description of the 2010 Service.

Please see events page for future Infant Loss Services and other related events.        

Prayers for Maeve

This post on Carly Marie’s blog is truly inspiring.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Maeve and her twin daughters Aibhlinn and Caoimhe.

Carly Marie shares Maeve’s story on her blog and writes:

The memorial service for Aibhlinn and Caoimhe will be held this Saturday July 16th, 42 years and 3 months after they passed away. If you have a moment on Saturday, please send out some love and a prayer for Maeve.

It is never too late to name your babies.

It is never too late to hold a memorial service for them.

To all those who may be reading, who never named your babies or held a memorial service for them, we hope this story inspires you and helps you on your road to healing.

Thank you Carly for posting this and for encouraging moms and dads around the world with your beautiful words and projects.

Daffodils For My Darling: The Gift of Hospice

Earlier in the week, I was at an event and there were a number of businesses and non-profit organizations there.  As I walked past some tables, a vase full of flower stems caught my eye and I met a friendly woman at the Abbotsford Hospice Society booth named Marion.  We ended up chatting and I told her that I had visited the local hospice in my area after we lost our son a couple of years ago.  She immediately held out her hand and reached out to me with sincere care and compassion.  Marion told me that she also lost a loved one and was now involved with raising funds as the Capital Campaign Manager for ‘Help Us Light The Way’ to support the services offered by the Abbotsford Hospice. 

We both agreed that hospices are needed in our communities and can make a difference in the lives of families missing a family member or dear friend.  For about a year after Keaton died, I received excellent one-on-one grief support from a well-trained therapist.  It amazes me that the services offered at the hospice were free of charge.  Grief counselling and various support groups are available to those living in the catchment area.  Contact your local organization for more information. 

Many hospices need support to be able to continue providing services so it is important to keep them in mind if you are looking for a worthy cause to donate to.  For example, think about setting aside gently used items and bringing them to a hospice thrift shop.  How about visiting one of these thrift stores the next time you want to go shopping for a unique treasure? 

Monetary funds are needed, but hospices are often looking for volunteers so the gift of time, or resources such as books on grief and other items are welcome.  Businesses can help too!  For example, Lakeland Nurseries kindly dropped off a large donation of flowers for the Abbotsford Hospice to hand out to people attending the event.  Before I left, Marion made sure to give me a bunch.  “They are in honour of your son” she said knowingly with a smile. 

I went home with a fistful of neatly bundled stems topped with little buds and wondered to myself how long it would take for them to grow, but I didn’t have to wonder for long!  Overnight, they bloomed into full daffodils and bright yellow flowers greeted me in the morning.  What a nice surprise…

Through a ministry that I have started, I am collecting teddy bears to give to bereaved families.  I received a message just this morning that someone wants to send me a few dozen teddy bears.  She is moving and thought it would be a good time to pass them on.  How great is that?!  These bears will be lovingly delivered to the local hospices and hospitals in surrounding areas and given directly to parents and siblings missing a little one.  For myself, receiving the gift for Keaton knowing that someone has taken the time to care makes me think about what little things I can do to let others know that they are not alone.        

If you are grieving the loss of a loved one and would like support, consider seeking out services that may be available in your community by contacting: 

bcbereavementhelpline.com.  In the Lower Mainland 604.738.9950 and throughout BC 1.877.779.2223

If there is a hospice nearby, it might be worthwhile to see if grief counselling, support groups and events are available. 

To support the Abbotsford Hospice Contact:

Marion Keys, Capital Campaign Manager – Help Us Light The Way at 60(four).852.2456 or MarionKeys(at)abbotsfordhospice(dot)org or visit them at abbotsfordhospice.org  

HOSPICE NEWS & UPDATES

Great news!  Canuck Place is expanding services to the Fraser Valley.  The Canuck Place Children’s Hospice will be located next to the Abbotsford Regional Hospital. 

The Surrey Hospice Society is hosting a Walk of Remembrance & Dove Release on May 7th.  I participated in this event last year and went with a group of other bereaved parents that I knew.  It was meaningful to be able to release a dove for Keaton and walk with others who understood my journey.   I wish you peace in yours…       

Note:  If your organization would like us to publish a link to help promote an event for bereaved families, please feel free to contact us and we would be happy to do so. 

Baby & Infant Memorial Service Details

*Baby & Infant Memorial Service & Teddy Bear Tea*

NEW date:  June 11

Where:  St. Matthew’s Parish, 16079 88 Ave., Surrey, BC

Memorial Mass Service:  5:30pm – 6:20pm celebrated by Pastor Augustine Obiwumma, with the Chorus Angelorum Choir

 “Teddy Bear” Tea:  6:30pm – 7:30pm (in the Fireside Room) hosted by St. Mattew’s Parish & local Elizabeth Ministry Chapters

*RSVP:  Ann & Donna – info@littlelightofheaven.com

Prayers will be included for parents and family members who wish to honour the lives of all young children gone-too-soon, including;

- Toddlers and infants

- Babies lost during or after birth

- Babies who have died during pregnancy such as those who were miscarried and stillborn

Couples who are struggling with infertility and those trying to conceive; parents who are expecting and those on a waiting list to adopt; as well as parents who lovingly chose to give up and/or welcome children through adoption and fostering will also be remembered on this day.

 TEDDY BEAR TEA

Coffee & tea will be available at the social gathering immediately after the service in the Fireside Room.  Please consider bringing a new small teddy bear in honour of a baby or child which will be donated to bereaved families through Elizabeth Ministry. 

Families can enter the name of their child in the “Little Book of Life” and light a candle for their little one. 

This Mass and social is open to everyone from all faiths and backgrounds, especially bereaved parents and other family members including children, as well as those who support grieving families. 

*Please RSVP so that enough programs, candles & refreshments are available.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

NOTE:  The Teddy Bear Tea is the official launch event for Elizabeth Ministry in BC.  Future programs and events will be scheduled.  Contact Donna or Ann to receive updates. 

Elizabeth Ministry is a faith-based, peer mentorship volunteer organization that celebrates the sanctity of life and honours the lives of all children.  If you are interested in donating a teddy bear, volunteering or starting a chapter at your Parish, please contact us:

Ann, Elizabeth Minister St. Matthew’s Chapter – annamsing (at) yahoo.com

Donna, Elizabeth Minister St. Nicholas Chapter – info (at) littlelightofheaven.com

~~~ 

*SHORT DESCRIPTION* 

The following is a short summary of the service for email invites and church bulletins etc.

Baby & Infant Memorial Service & Teddy Bear Tea

Sat. June 11th 5:30- 7:30pm at St. Matthew’s Parish 16079 88 Ave. Surrey

Come celebrate the lives of all young children who have died including those miscarried, stillborn, lost during or after birth, infants and toddlers.  Bereaved parents, relatives and friends of all faiths and backgrounds welcome.  Families are invited to light a candle and enter the names of their children in the “Little Book of Life”.

Teddy bear donations to be distributed to bereaved families through Elizabeth Ministry (St. Matthew & St. Nicholas Chapters).  Please RSVP:  info (at)littlelightofheaven.com.  Visit littlelightofheaven.com for more info.