In the New York Times on Friday, Bruce Feiler wrote about mourning the dead in small groups of friends, sharing food. These gatherings have been dubbed “secular shivas.”

Today, with religiosity in decline, families dispersed and the pace of life feeling quickened, these elaborate, carefully staged mourning rituals are less and less common. Old customs no longer apply, yet new ones have yet to materialize.

The ceremony described by Mr. Feiler resembles the practice of many parishes which host a funeral luncheon after a funeral Mass/service at church. I am always struck by how many parishioners make it a point to come to every funeral and every funeral luncheon to show their support for someone they may not know personally.

What changes over time have you noticed in funerals at your parish? Are there other ways we can help families mourn?

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