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Funeral home adapts to coronavirus

Porter Loring Mortuaries lets people attend funeral in spirit, by sending photos that will be placed on pews.

SAN ANTONIO — Restrictions on groups larger than 10 have made organizing and carrying out funerals even more difficult for grieving families, who now have to bury loved ones without the in-person support of their community. 

Helen Loring Dear, president of Porter Loring Mortuaries, says they’ve been finding new ways to adapt to the current situation, inspired by an Italian priest. They’ve begun livestreaming services, and are also offering "passer-by" visitations, where family and friends can drive by in their car to pay respects.

As for those aching to be physically in the seats of the chapel during a funeral, Dear found a way to help them too. She was inspired by an article she read about an Italian priest who asked his congregation to send him pictures of themselves, which he then printed out and put up on pews while he livestreamed from his church.

"So my thought is, 'Why can't we do the same thing for funerals?'" Dear says.

People can now upload a photo and message of support on the Porter Loring website. The picture will be printed out on card stock with the message on the back. For in-chapel funerals, Dear says the photos will be placed in the pews. For graveside services, the photos will still be printed out and given to the family.

Dear said she hopes these photos will remind grieving families that their community is still with them in spirit.

"It's all about support when you're grieving," she says.

It’s said a picture is worth a thousand words. These pictures could be worth even more than that.

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