Catholics Brings Christ’s Love to Grieving Hearts

By Katie Camario

Catholics Brings Christ’s Love to Grieving Hearts

Last month, five Tampa construction workers were involved in an accident when their car overturned on Interstate 275. Three of the passengers were ejected from the car and sadly, two died. The third is recovering from the critical injuries he suffered. The fourth passenger and the driver received minor injuries.

All of those involved in the accident were part of a tightknit group of workers who were recent immigrants to the U.S. from Latin America. The morning of the accident, they were all headed to their jobsite when the unexpected happened.

Company supervisors recognized the heartache and sorrow their workers were suffering and immediately contacted the Diocese of St. Petersburg’s Hispanic Ministry seeking help with grief counseling for their employees.

“They asked us to be with them, to be present and help in any way that we can,” said Carlos Flores, Associate Director of Hispanic Ministry.

Then, a group of three priests and four volunteers reached out to provide comfort to those who were dealing with tremendous grief.

“There were enough people who cared about the wellbeing of this group of people and everyone stepped up,” said Father Alberto Bueno, Associate Pastor at St. Patrick Catholic Church.

On October 14th, Father Alberto and others were present for a memorial service to honor the lives lost and to provide spiritual support for all who were grieving, regardless of their faith background. In attendance was the father of two of the accident victims. One of his sons died and the other was injured.

“All of us were there because Christ calls us to be His disciples and tells us to put the Gospel into practice,” said Father Alberto.

Most of the workers attending the memorial only spoke Spanish and the diocesan Hispanic Ministry was uniquely positioned to assist and to practice the Spiritual Works of Mercy that includes Comforting the Afflicted or Sorrowful.

“How do you express yourself, when you’re not sure what to express, and if you tried to translate that to a different language that isn’t your own, it makes it that much more difficult,” said Father Alberto. “It was essential to be able to speak Spanish.”

The Church teaches that the Works of Mercy are for all the baptized to carry out.

“It’s stepping out and courageously living the gospel,” said Father Alberto.

For suggestions and words of advice for living out the seven Spiritual Works of Mercy in your daily life visit: https://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/new-evangelization/jubilee-of-mercy/the-spiritual-works-of-mercy

To learn more about the diocese Multicultural/Hispanic Ministry visit https://www.dosp.org/multicultural/ministeriohispano/