Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Prayer-Shawl-PresentationRepresentatives of the Prayer Shawl Ministry at St. Joseph Parish in Poquonock present shawls to leaders of the professional association of funeral directors who assisted after the Dec. 14 shootings in Newtown. From left are Darlene Kennedy of Windsor, leader of the Prayer Shawl Ministry; Pasquale Folino, president of the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association (CFDA) and a licensed funeral director at Thomas L. Neilan & Sons Funeral Homes in New London and Niantic; John Cascio, executive director of the FDA; and Bunni Barresi of Windsor, Prayer Shall Ministry member. (Photo submitted)

 WETHERSFIELD – The Prayer Shawl Ministry of St. Joseph Parish in Poquonock has wrapped funeral directors who assisted after the Dec. 14 killings in Newtown with love and prayers.

The ministry gathered in January for a “Knit-In” to remember the victims and families of Dec. 14’s Sandy Hook shootings and to thank the funeral directors who helped the grieving families.

As each member knitted or crocheted a shawl, she prayed for the funeral directors, asking for peace, comfort and blessings for their care and service.

Father Robert B. Vargo, pastor of St. Joseph, which is located in the Poquonock section of Windsor, blessed the shawls during a Mass and said a special prayer for funeral directors who have the difficult job of assisting grieving families every day.


Several weeks later, two members of the Prayer Shawl Ministry presented the colorful shawls to the leadership of the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association. The volunteers explained that each shawl was different and made with love, and they conveyed the appreciation of their group to the funeral directors for their strength and caring.

Licensed funeral directors from 11 Connecticut funeral homes and one in New York served the families of those affected by the tragedy at the school. More than 160 other funeral directors assisted their professional brothers and sisters in serving the families.

The Prayer Shawl Ministry at St. Joseph’s creates shawls for people of all faiths, and for some with seemingly no faith, for many different reasons, including illness, weddings, baptisms, confirmations, grief, loneliness, birthdays, graduations and for God’s blessings.

The ministry has mailed shawls to people in other states and countries.

To purchase yarn for their shawls, the group has sponsored pancake breakfasts within the parish. It also has received donations from a variety of individuals, including people who have requested a prayer shawl for another person and others who have received prayer shawls, some in memory of a loved one.

The group is open to new members and does not require knitting or crocheting experience.

Information about membership and donations is available from Darlene Kennedy at (860) 688-9482 or

The Connecticut Funeral Directors Association is composed of funeral directors at more than 220 funeral homes. Based in Wethersfield, it is committed to the promotion and advocacy of high ethical standards in funeral service.

For information about the 124-year-old professional association, call (860) 721-0234 or (800) 919-2332 or visit