This past year has been like walking through the desert to a new beginning, a better land. We have been isolated, banned from entry to our churches, restaurants, theaters, and gyms. We have had to wear masks that impair our voices and expressions. We have been asked to be patient and wait. Most all of us have experienced death of our own loved one or someone we know. We have not been able to have the Catholic Rites (Vigil, Funeral Masses, and Committals) that gather unlimited loved ones, and therefore masses, cemetery interments and gatherings have been postponed. Through all CFCS San Jose (Catholic Funeral Cemetery Services) has been here for you, our families, and our staff.
On March 12, 2020, CFCS San Jose chose to close their doors to visitors and began meeting with families outside. We thought this would be a temporary fix, no more than 6 weeks. Who knew, one year later, we would still be here. We have not opened our doors yet, however, we have implemented protocols to accommodate a safe environment for our visitors and staff in addition to some mental health events.
Thankfully, we live in a mild weather area of the state where we have the benefit of beautiful sunny days most days. We were able to set up tents outside with space available for our Family Service Advisors to meet with a family to make burial arrangements for a loved one who has died or to pre-plan for use in the future. The advantage of pre-planning is the option to finance at 0% for up to 5 years. We have masks and sanitizer available, should the family not have theirs. The Outreach Staff have migrated from creating events to calling the family who has buried a loved one a month later to check in and offer support. Our grief support group has gone virtual via Zoom, as well as our Monthly Memorial Mass via Facebook. Also, you can visit a loved one, post memorial information and look at selected properties for purchase through our website, https://www.cfcssanjose.org/search-for-loved-ones/ .
With the U.S. death toll at over 570,000, this has also affected our staff. Recently the media has been speaking of the mental health issues this pandemic has caused. We see it, we feel it and we know it. We all seem to be experiencing some form of grief. So, it is time to start practicing what we preach. We begin each day as a team in prayer which is in person and via Zoom. For our one-year anniversary of Covid shutdown we celebrated each day with some type of self-care activity. Our week began with a mass celebrated by Bishop Cantú offering prayers and healing for our staff and their resilience to continue to provide for our families during this time. On our last day we planted a Chinese Wisteria tree in tribute to those who have died of Covid. Each day in between we introduced the staff to various self-care activities: scented candles, music, meditation, holding cross, chair yoga. We will continue to practice one of these activities each month as a collective.
CFCS San Jose has protocols in place to serve our families, even if our office doors are not open. Our staff is available and enabled to assist our families with all their burial needs. Our Outreach Staff does plan to offer some controlled outdoor gatherings during the summer months at our beautiful sacred cemeteries, which are open every day 8AM – 5PM. Follow us on Facebook or our website for current information. Through the desert and into a land of promise, we are here to provide an experience of the Catholic faith during an end-of-life journey. Allow us to walk with you, 408-359-5538.