Ministry of Hope

Ministry of the Month

About the Ministry of Hope at OLV Parish

The purpose of this ministry is to provide the opportunity for persons preparing a funeral or memorial service for their deceased loved ones to be actively involved in the process.  Volunteers assist family members and/or friends at the time of death by visiting them in their homes or meeting at the parish center to help plan the music and readings for the funeral liturgy.  They also offer the bereaved opportunities for participation in the Mass of the Resurrection as readers or gift bearers. On the day of the funeral, they serve as greeters at the Mass.  A few weeks after the funeral, they call or visit the family to offer support if it is needed.

Please call the Parish Office at (508) 775-5744 if you are interested in serving in this ministry, or send an email to

The ministry also hosts a Mass of Remembrance on a Sunday in November where the faith community remembers and prays for the parishioners who have died during the past year.


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Ministry of the Month

The Ministry of Hope assists over 100 families per year at the time of a loved one’s passing by helping them plan the funeral liturgy. It's a match, a perfect fit---Sheila Murphy and the Ministry of Hope. As director, Sheila spends many hours comforting families who have suffered the loss of a loved one. She reflects on the role of the ministry in her own life and the life of the parish. "I call it a work of mercy, a grace. And I feel I have come back to my roots."

As a Sister of St. Joseph for fifteen years, Sheila planned the funeral liturgies for her parents at their home parish of St. Catherine, Norwood. She performed the same service three years ago for a beloved sister. "I realized at the time how important it was to have the family involved and to help them choose the readings from the Old and New Testament for the Liturgy of the Word and the music as well." Her late cousin, Eleanor Murphy, began this ministry at Our Lady of Victory ten years ago when Father Hession became pastor.// Sheila took over as director after Eleanor's death.

"But don't call me the leader. I don't like that word." Irish eyes are smiling as Sheila speaks of her sixteen co-workers. She mentions several by name and declares that they are the "holy ones." When a death occurs, a member of the ministry visits with the family either at home or at the parish office to go over plans for the funeral liturgy. The person may help in the preparation of a program for the service or discuss how family members can participate. At every funeral or memorial liturgy, two members of the ministry act as greeters. A Mass of Remembrance is held in November for parishioners who have died during the year and the families are invited to a reception sponsored by the ministry.

Sheila likes to talk about the rewards. "I've been doing this for eight years. People are so grateful--grateful and gracious. They send thank-you notes telling us how much it meant to choose a favorite hymn or Bible reading for the Mass of the Resurrection or to have members of the family place the pall on the casket, a reminder of the garment given at Baptism. We are Easter people. We have so much to share. We have hope." This former religious brings an abundance of hope to the bereaved. She also shares special gifts of empathy, experience, warmth and joy. Sheila Murphy is an Easter person!

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