St. John the Baptist Parish maintains a Bereavement Support Ministry, organized in 1989. The ministry reaches out to those in the parish who have lost a loved one through death. Our hope is that no one has to go through this painful journey alone – that joy can return in time.
Many of our volunteers have been called to this ministry through their own experience of loss; others are very active in the ministry because they have recognized the need for programs to support those who are grieving.
Because the death of a family member or friend confronts us with one of life's most difficult and painful challenges, St. John Bereavement Support Committee offers the following:
• Letters and/or personal follow-up contacts for a one-year period after the death.
• Masses on the Commemoration of All Souls in November of each year to remember in a special way the loved ones who died in the previous year. Names of the deceased are chanted at each of the Masses.
• A Book of Remembrance for people to write the names of their deceased relatives and friends.
• Mass of Holy Innocents on December 28 for deceased infants and children.
• Mass for the bereaved themselves, praying for God's gifts of healing and peace of mind and heart.
• Bereavement material - lending library of books - and tapes for use by those grieving.
• A bereavement meal for those attending the funeral, giving the family an opportunity to gather and share memories. (There is no cost for the bereavement dinner whether we serve 25 or 100. Donations may be offered and are greatly appreciated.)
• Hospital visitations to those who are ill.
• A shrine in the narthex of church, consisting of the obituary of the parish member who died, and a candle to encourage prayers from the entire parish community.
• Support to families when death is imminent.
• A list of support groups where the bereaved can share their experiences with others in a safe place, learn about the process of grief and be supported during a difficult time.
• A funeral preparation booklet to help readers plan the funeral rites of someone they love, and also help those who would like to plan their own funeral as a final gift to their loved ones.
• Annual four-part series on Grief and Loss presented by V.N.A. Hospice.
National Catholic Ministry to the Bereaved - http://www.griefwork.org/
Healing the Spirit – http://www.healingthespirit.org
Good Grief Resources – http://www.goodgriefresources.com
Additional Bereavement Resources
Helping Yourself with Grief
Someone you love has died. You are now faced with the difficult, but important, need to mourn. Mourning is the open expression of your thoughts and feelings regarding the death and the person who died. It is an essential part of healing. The following articles provide many practical suggestions to help you move toward healing in your unique grief journey.
- Helping Yourself Heal When Someone Dies
- Helping Yourself Heal When Your Child Dies
- Helping Yourself Heal When Your Spouse Dies
- Helping Yourself Heal When a Parent Dies
- Helping Yourself Heal When a Baby Dies
- Helping Yourself Heal During the Holiday Season
- Helping Dispel Five Common Myths about Grief
- Helping Yourself Live When You Are Seriously Ill
- Helping Yourself Life When You Are Dying
Helping Others with Grief
A friend has experienced the death of someone loved. How can you help? The following articles provide many practical suggestions for helping others with grief:
- Helping a Friend in Grief
- Helping a Man Who is Grieving
- Helping a Friend Who is Dying
- Helping a Friend Who is Seriously Ill
- Helping a Suicide Survivor Heal
- Helping a Homicide Survivor Heal
- Helping a Grandparent Who Is Grieving
- Helping a Grieving Friend in the Workplace
- Helping AIDS Survivors Heal
- Helping SIDS Survivors Heal
- Helping Your Family When a Member is Dying
- Helping Your Family When a Member is Seriously Ill
- Helping Your Family Cope When a Pet Dies
- Helping Your Family Decide if Organ and Tissue Donation is Right for You
For and About Grieving Children and Teenagers
- Helping Children Cope with Grief
- Helping Teenagers Cope with Grief
- Helping Infants and Toddlers When Someone They Love Dies
- Helping Children with Funerals
- Helping Children Understand Cremation
- Helping a Child Who is Seriously Ill
- Helping a Child Who is Dying
- Helping Grieving Children at School
- Helping Bereaved Siblings Heal
Funerals, Memorials, Cremation and Related Topics
The days following the death of a loved one can be filled with sadness and confusion. The following articles can help you understand the importance of the rituals surrounding death.
- Helping Your Family Personalize the Funeral
- Helping Create a Meaningful Eulogy
- Ten Freedoms for Creating a Meaningful Funeral
- Why is the Funeral Ritual Important?
For Hospices and Other Caregivers
Caregivers have special needs of their own. The following articles are designed to help caregivers take care of themselves as well as those who are suffering from loss.
- Companioning the Bereaved: An Introduction
- Tenet 1: Companioning Principle
- Tenet 2: Companioning Principle
- The Awesome Power of "Telling The Story": Why I'm Proud to be a Grief Counselor
- Caregiver as Gardener: A Parable
- Companioning vs. Treating: Beyond The Medical Model of Bereavement Caregiving
- Growing Through Grief: The Role of Support Groups
- Responding to Problems in the Support Group Setting
- The Bereavement Caregiver's Self-Care Guidelines