"Every great grief conceals a great grace."
Project Chrysalis is a new Catholic ministry designed to help parents who have lost a child find hope through Sacred Scripture and community, all while adhering to teaching of the Magisterium. While this ministry is not a bereavement group, our mission is to offer support and hope through scripture in a time of transformation.
The first Project Chrysalis meeting was held on October 22, 2018 at Church of the Ascension in Overland Park, Kansas. Attendees ranged from parents to grandparents to additional family members. It was an evening for sharing and reflection and many new connections and friendships were made.
Our next meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 25, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. in the St. Luke's Room at Church of the Ascension, 9510 W. 127th Street in Overland Park. For more information contact Ken or Patty Billinger at 913-634-4210 or email email@example.com.
In September of 2011, Ken and Patty Billinger lost their only son Blaine to something called Sudden Cardiac Death. Through the help of their pastor, Fr. Thomas Tank, their Ascension parish community and their former parish community of St. Fidelis, the Billinger's began to work their way through a very painful situation. As a couple, they realized there were two ways they could go...turn from God in anger or draw closer to Him through a stronger faith.
In 2017, Patty began to look for Catholic ministries for parents who have lost children, but didn't find a viable source. She began to find real hope through Sacred Scripture, and it was then that she realized the importance of starting a ministry for other parents dealing with the same issues. In September of 2018, Project Chrysalis was launched. Also part of the ministry are John and Debbie Daly and David and Christine Downey, couples who have also lost a child. The program is open to not only couples and single parents who have lost children, but also to grandparents who have lost grandchildren. Immediate family members are also welcome to attend.
Sadly, the death of a child often times can result in parents separating or even divorcing. It is critical to keep the lines of communication open between spouses. It is also important to note that men and women grieve differently, so patience and understanding are two critical elements for getting through the dark times. If you are a single parent dealing with the loss of a child, it is even more important to find a resource for communication. Reach out to your pastor, priest or spiritual director for guidance and support, or contact us for additional resources.
“Mary our mother, while we will never entirely comprehend your great love for Jesus, which is the cause of great suffering, that great love allowed you to endure His sufferings as though they were your own. Mary, when the soldiers struck his body it was as if you were subjected to every blow, when they pierced his head with thorns, you felt their sharp penetration, and as they spread his body on the cross, you Mary, were torn within. Lord Jesus, while your death on the cross pierced the heart of our Blessed Mother, you have given us hope that, like your resurrection, we will see our children resurrected into the Kingdom. Heavenly Father we put our faith and total trust in you, knowing that our common homeland is not a forbidding tomb; it is the bosom of the Lord. Amen.”
Radio inteview in November 2018 on KVDM Radio in Hays, Ks
by Jennifer Hubbard
Their mission was clear, their obedience and trust undeniable. We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage (Mt 2:2). They followed his star, brilliant and unmistakable, still and silent, revealed in the night sky. They followed his star and paid homage to the king of kings. I soak in the essence of what the Magi’s mission offers and remind myself—clarity comes in retrospect. I know where the star will lead and who they will encounter, and yet in that day and on their quest, they go to a place they do not know and encounter a king they could not have possibly imagined. They followed a star to arrive at the most unexpected of palaces, and still they lay prostrate and offer gifts to the gentle Mother and swaddled Babe settled amidst the animals.
I know my heavenly Father will guide me to places I cannot even begin to imagine, and yet still there are moments I plead he reveal a glimpse of what is to come. At times I beg for an epiphany, thinking the divine is revealed when I have confidence that I am walking in his way. As it was with the Magi, my epiphany is not in the knowing or the assurance; it is in the encounter. As with the Magi, I am called to watch expectantly and act obediently. For it is in this seeking and acting that I am brought to the most unexpected of beautiful places and stirred to pay homage to the real and living Jesus whom I encounter. For the reality is, the way is lit and my Savior awaits my arrival.
by Jennifer Hubbard
The sheep recline beside the crèche while the donkey lies with the ox, the Mother gazes at the Babe, the shepherds and kings prostrate themselves, and the earthly father stands watch. I am captivated by this season’s quintessential and often romanticized scene. As I ponder its essence, I realize I have failed to acknowledge that this is but a glimpse of a single moment. Leading to it is Mary’s Fiat despite dire earthly consequences, and Joseph’s staying and not quietly divorcing, and a weary journey where, ripe with child, they travel to Bethlehem. Despite apprehension, trepidation, and, surely, fear, heaven and earth unite, and God’s peace exudes.
It is in this moment of grace that I wonder whether I would truly understand its example had my little one not died. There is a picture taken of the three of us not long after. I can still taste the salty tears and feel my shoulders buckling under the weight of grief. Despite the sadness, there is a stillness that emanates from the photograph. It is a stillness similar to that which I ponder in the manger, and I realize that it is among family where vulnerability exists without shame, where peace can be found. The Holy Family is God’s chosen, his example and gift, a living witness of the sanctity of family, modeled by our heavenly Mother and her spouse. It is in the solemnity of this unit where rest is found, strength is renewed, and I am offered a glimpse of the heavenly family that awaits.
Jennifer Hubbard resides in Newtown, Conn. The younger of her two children, Catherine Violet, was a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. Articles taken from the Magnificat.
Jennifer Hubbard is a mother and author who lost her daughter Violet in the Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting. She has wonderful writings in the Magnificat. Here are some additional stories about Jennifer....
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