All Souls mass a celebration of life
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