In times of grief or crisis, most of us find consolation in doing some activity, something that ritualizes our feelings of sadness. The Pastoral Cross can be a powerful tool to help young people cope. It can help them focus on their loss and/or the disruption in their lives. Of course, the act of placing one’s prayers and notes in this beautifully crafted symbol of the Resurrection is a humbling reminder that Jesus is our source for all our healing and hope.
Use of the Pastoral Cross is reserved for the death of a young person or the death of adult who plays a significant role in the lives of young people. The Pastoral Cross is not intended for use to commemorate the anniversary of death, be used during an extended illness of a young person, or to hold vigil when someone is injured (even seriously). Put more simply, the Diocesan Pastoral Cross is reserved for use in a faith community for those sad times when a young person or adult who is active in that community can no longer be physically present. They are rare exceptions.
It is crucial to acknowledge that every death brings with it our own personal grief – from the very first death we experienced, even that of our family pet, to the death of a sibling, parent, grandparent, or close friend. However, there are some who have traveled the course of life with minimal personal encounters with death.
This resource will help you understand more about what teenagers might be feeling when faced with a loss.
This powerful resource, published by the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, provides prayer service suggestions, Scripture readings, and songs to be used when helping young people deal with the death of one of their peers.
A helpful tool when using the Pastoral Cross in your parish or school.
Every young person grieves in his or her own way. This resource gives you what the experts have discovered about the way young people grieve, broken down by ages and stages of development.
A useful tool as you prepare to help your young people deal with loss.
Between suicide, homicide, deaths as a result of military conflict, and even car accidents, young people can sometimes find themselves facing complicated grief.
These resources include commentary on these areas as well as tips on what you can say, what you should avoid saying, and how to get professional help when necessary.