All Souls mass a cel­e­bra­tion of life

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By YVETTE AUBUS­SON-FO­LEY

THE Western Dis­tricts Chapel, Lawn Ceme­tery and Memo­rial Park in con­junc­tion with St Brigid’s Church will be host­ing an All Soul’s Mass in its chapel on Novem­ber 2 at 7am.

“We pro­vide the morn­ing tea and the chapel space. It’s a Catholic mass to hon­our the dead and they’ll prob­a­bly go out to some of the graves to bless them. It’s a very pos­i­tive spin to make it more of a happy oc­ca­sion,” said Gwynn Szoko, who has re­cently moved to Dubbo with her hus­band, Ben.

Hap­pi­ness and fu­ner­als aren’t tra­di­tion­ally thought of to­gether, but as Ben ex­plains, things have changed a lot and many fam­i­lies choose to in­cor­po­rate a cel­e­bra­tion of a per­son’s life into the cer­e­mony.

“Each fam­ily is unique. You may get fam­i­lies that are more tra­di­tional and have a more tra­di­tional ser­vice but then you’ll have other fam­i­lies that are mak­ing up their own rules and they add much more me­dia, au­dio-vi­su­als, more songs; more slide shows with mes­sages, that’s in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar.

“We’re see­ing more things like peo­ple writ­ing mes­sages on coffins, and dif­fer­ent types of coffins which have lovely pic­tures, so in­stead of your typ­i­cal brown or red or black cof­fin, they’ve got pic­tures of land­scapes or pho­tos on the cof­fin,” he said.

Adding el­e­ments of beauty to a fu­neral is also a mark of cel­e­bra­tion.

“Bal­loons, doves, but­ter­flies, that kind of thing be­ing re­leased, af­ter guards of hon­our. Peo­ple dance and sing as well. There’s so many dif­fer­ent unique things that peo­ple do,” said Ben.

“Another beau­ti­ful thing I’ve no­ticed has shifted, is that peo­ple don’t re­ally wear black to fu­ner­als any­more. That’s quite up­lift­ing and I’ve been to fu­ner­als where the de­ceased has said, they do not want peo­ple to wear black, so they’ve worn pink for breast can­cer or if they’re do­nat­ing to breast can­cer, or they’ve worn, won­der­ful, out­ra­geous bright colours as well, which tends to lift the mood a lit­tle bit as well,” Gwynne said.

Western Dis­tricts are also in­volved in com­mu­nity spon­sor­ships and sup­port­ing of com­mu­nity groups.

“We do a lot of spon­sor­ship. We want to help out as much as we can. It’s a big com­pany and it’s some­thing we’re def­i­nitely go­ing to focus on,” she said.

Gwynn and Ben Szoko are the new man­agers of the Western Dis­tricts Chapel, Lawn Ceme­tery and Memo­rial Park. PHOTO: DUBBO PHOTO NEWS

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