By Sergio Coscia, FFWPU Italy
In 2018, four mothers of our community passed away at the end of their lives, spent for the sake of their families and children. Their last months were not easy for these sweet, elderly ladies who had to struggle with the passing of time… Their children are all devoted members and we felt it was important to honour them, especially because we could not hold their SeongHwa ceremonies at the community level before.
Our gathering on January 27, 2019, started with a moment of meditation and silent prayer, and after lighting candles and incense, a prayer offered by Patrizia Olivero Kerschbaummayr, of the Blessed Family Department, just before the speech about the significance of the SeongHwa (Ascension) Ceremony.
Sergio Coscia, the local Community Pastor, spoke about the importance of living with a deep awareness that our earthly life is the preparation for our eternal life within God’s love. Quoting Father Moon’s words, he emphasized that the corporeal death is not the end of life, but, instead, a rebirth into a higher dimension. Therefore, through the Ascension SeongHwa Ceremony, we are actually celebrating the person’s new birth as an exclusively spiritual being, and this is really a joyful moment, where there should be no space for sadness, but only for happiness, while we encourage our beloved ones to enter the spirit world ahead of us. We should also be aware of our Heavenly Parent’s happiness in finally welcoming them in His embrace, after waiting for them for so long. These words helped us reflect about the value of earthly life as a time to prepare to inherit God’s unconditional love, the same unconditional love of a mother who forgets herself completely for her children’s sake.
At this point, we were ready to recall the lives of the four mothers whose new birth we were celebrating. It was very moving to watch pictures portraying different moments of their lives, from youth until their old age, while we were listening to their favourite songs, the same songs that they truly enjoyed listening. And it was even more moving to listen to their children’s testimonies, while they were expressing their love to their mothers who, we are sure, were present and alive although in a new dimension.After this, all the participants could demonstrate their respect and love by offering their bows and flowers of all colours.
At the conclusion of this celebration, the UPF Ambassador for Peace, Bhante Dhammapalo, wished to share a significant tradition that started at the time of Buddha’s life: a special merit transfer ceremony. All children and grandchildren thus attended with a prayerful heart this ancient and very symbolical ritual: they poured fresh water into a cup representing their beloved mother, signifying that they were giving her the best of themselves, to support her in her new life. At the end, we all gathered to share a delicious meal, where many of the dishes that our beloved four mothers loved, were shared. We are sure that they rejoiced with us during this special day.