Bereavement

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolations, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God.  ~ 2 Corninthians 1:3-4

Experiencing loss is a normal part of living, and grief is the normal human response to loss. In fact, when we experience a significant loss and don’t grieve, we can suffer emotional, physical, and even spiritual harm. Here are some less heralded but still significant losses in daily life which may cause grief: friends moving, losing your job, retiring, falling ill, a child leaving the nest, divorcing, losing your home in a fire, tornado, or flood, suffering from a rape or abortion experience, and many more. Remember, that you are never alone. Accepting when you are grieving can be a challenging, but rewarding, step in life.

Check out our Being Pro Life Episode: Pregnancy Loss Is a Real Loss. Click the video or one of the icons to the left to watch, listen, and read.

General Information

Coping with Grief

Life is constant change. One change that we all must learn to face is a change that brings grief. With grief comes so many emotions. Highs, lows, tears, laughter, wonder, confusion, loneliness, emptiness, acceptance. All of these feelings and more accompany the loss of a loved one. Everyone experiences grief differently. Some hold it in; others try to get rid of it by letting it out. Regardless of how grief affects a person, it always hurts. Thankfully, grief is not a permanent state, but rather a process one goes through as a means of coping with loss. It is important to understand grief and its effects while you’re grieving. Understanding leads to acceptance, and acceptance leads to healing. Grieving does not make you weak. It makes you strong. The first step in dealing with grief is accepting its existence. Once you’ve acknowledged its presence, you can begin getting through it.

Church Documents

“For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ Romans 8:38-39

Even though in its subjective dimension, as a personal fact contained within man’s concrete and unrepeatable interior, suffering seems almost inexpressible and not transferable, perhaps at the same time nothing else requires as much as does suffering, in its “objective reality”, to be dealt with, meditated upon, and conceived as an explicit problem; and that therefore basic questions be asked about it and the answers sought.

Death is an experience which touches all families, without exception. It is part of life; yet, where familial love is concerned, death never seems natural. For parents, surviving their own children is particularly heartbreaking; it contradicts the fundamental nature of the very relationships that give meaning to the family. The loss of a son or daughter is like time stopping altogether: it opens a chasm that swallows both past and future.

Because of our belief not only in the immortality of the soul, but also in the resurrection of the body, the Church professes hope in the face of death, and acts with charity in the funeral rites. The Church provides a number of prayers for the faithful to offer both to accompany the dying of a loved one and to strengthen our faith upon their death. Through private prayer and public funeral rites, we strengthen our faith and hope, comfort those who mourn, and bury the bodily remains of the deceased with care befitting what was the Temple of the Holy Spirit.  (En Espanol)

Organizations & Webpages

Below are organizations, along with their webpages, that serve as wonderful resources for parishes, families and individuals who would like to learn more about the topic of bereavement from the perspective of the Catholic Church.

For access to support resources, organizations, webpages, and media, CLICK HERE to be taken to the Marriage and Family Life Office.

Companions on a Journey

Companions on a Journey Grief Support, Inc. (COJ) offers support to anyone who has suffered the death of a loved one. The feelings that come with grief can cause a person to feel numb, lost, alone, angry and confused. It can feel as though someone has reached in your chest and pulled your heart out. It helps to know that you are not alone. Sharing one’s grief has helped many to adjust to the new world in which they now must live: “For someone so loved will never be forgotten.” We seek to be the most compassionate and effective faith-based bereavement support center in the Tri-State area while serving individuals, families, and groups at any stage of their grief so they may come and find hope, strength, and healing.

Grief Share

It may be hard for you to feel optimistic about the future right now. If you’ve lost a spouse, child, family member, or friend, you’ve probably found there are not many people who understand the deep hurt you feel. This can be a confusing time when you feel isolated and have many questions about things you’ve never faced before. GriefShare is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences. You don’t have to go through the grieving process alone.

Stephen Ministry

Stephen Ministries is a not-for-profit Christian education organization founded in 1975 that produces training and resources known for their excellence, practicality, psychological integrity, and theological depth. These resources cover topics such as caring ministry, assertive relating, spiritual gifts discovery, grief support, spiritual growth, and more.

Our Faith is demonstrated by praying for all children and parents that suffer because they have been given a poor prenatal prognosis for their baby in utero, or they have suffered the loss of their infant or child. We lift up in prayer those heroic parents who face their daily challenges to serve the needs of their child with disabilities.

​Our Hope is to practically assist these parents as they remain at the cribside of their children in NICU units or in their homes with practical items that sends a message of support and compassion.

Our mission is to magnify the gift of love each child brings to the world.

The Mission of NILMDTS is to introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with a free gift of professional portraiture. NILMDTS offers the gift of healing, hope and honor to parents experiencing the death of a baby through the overwhelming power of remembrance portraits. Professional-level photographers volunteer their time to conduct an intimate portrait session, capturing the only moments parents spend with their babies. Parents are gifted with delicately retouched heirloom black and white portraits free of charge.

Heavens Gain

Our ministry, Heaven’s Gain, recognizes the need for families to receive loving support when suffering the death of a baby at any gestational age including premature birth, or at the newborn stage. We offer support before, during, and after the birth of the baby. We offer a birth plan template with suggestions for you to fill out on your own or with the help of our staff. The best, most informed choices help enhance the short but very important time with your baby. These special and meaningful moments help create lasting memories that bring comfort.

Project Rachel

If you or someone you know is suffering after abortion, confidential, non-judgmental help is available from Project Rachel Ministry. Project Rachel is a ministry of the Catholic Church in the U.S. to those who have been involved in abortion. It is a diocesan-based network of specially trained priests, religious, counselors, and laypersons who provide a team response of care for those suffering in the aftermath of abortion. In addition to referring for Sacramental Reconciliation, the ministry provides an integrated network of services, including pastoral counseling, support groups, retreats and referrals to licensed mental health professionals.

Reviv provide personalized practical and emotional support to families who have a child that receives a life-altering or life-threatening diagnosis.

Parish Contact Support Program(s)
North
Coldwater Cluster Cindy Muhlenkamp
(419) 678-4802 ext. 111
(419) 375-3013
A GriefShare Program is facilitated by the minister every year for 13 weeks in order to support parishioners and area citizens who are grieving the loss of a loved one.
Fort Recovery Cluster Kathy Staugler
(419) 234-4280
GriefShare support sessions are on Monday evenings. GriefShare is a Christian-based yet non-denominational ministry, open to any person who is experiencing the loss of a family member or friend. Sessions will be in the MHC library from 7-8:30pm.
Holy Redeemer (New Bremen) (419) 302-2223 Stephen Ministry This ministry is made of trained parishioners who provide one-to-one, confidential, non-judgmental, Christian care to people in crisis or in need of care.
Newport-Fort Loramie Region Rose Meyer
(937) 295-2891
GriefShare a weekly support group for people grieving the death of a close personal relationship, will be offered at St. Michael Church’s Parish Office Center, 33 Elm St., Fort Loramie.
The 12 week program "Catholic Divorce Survival" meet at the Parish Office Center beginning in September, from 7 to 8:30p.
Petersburg Parishes
GS (419) 738-2115
SM (419) 302-0119
SD (419) 738-2115
Stephen Ministry Call or text Pam Coon, (419)302-0119
Surviving Divorce For more information or to sign up for the class contact Lori Wilson.
St. Augustine (Minster) (419) 628-2614 GriefShare is offered at St. Augustine Parish in September each year.
Dayton
Immaculate Conception (Dayton)
Spencer Hargadon
(937) 252-9919
GriefShare The funeral is only the beginning of the grieving season. Immaculate Conception desires to walk with our families who are grieving the loss of a loved one.
Incaration Parish
Vicke Snyder
GriefShare more information is available on the parish app.
St. Francis of Assisi (Centerville)
Julie Weaver (937) 428-9226
Marcella Toma (937) 312-1157
GriefShare contact Julie Weaver for more information.
DivorceCare Two 13 week sessions are available during the year. Contact Marcella Toma for more information.
St. Henry Parish (Miamisburg)
Deanna Murphy
(937) 866-7813
Support After Miscarriage (SAM) Ministry This ministry provides support and encouragement during a time that can leave you feeling confused and isolated, regardless of how recently or long ago you suffered a loss. Contact Deanna Murphy for more information.
St. Rita, St. Paul, Precious Blood
Curtis Kneblic (937) 276-5954
Barb Franz (937) 836-4175
Stephen Ministry Contact Curtis Kneblic for St. Rita & Precious Blood and Barb Franz for St. Paul.
Cincinnati
Good Shepherd
Deacon Dennis Berry
(513) 489-8815 x708
[email protected]
Sandra Smith
(513) 563-1868
New Day Grief Support This program is a structured way for adults to work through the “tasks of grief” when mourning the death of a loved one from any cause. For more information, contact Deacon Dennis Berry.
New Visions Ministry We offer friendship and support for divorced, separated or widowed people and the opportunity to meet others in similar circumstances. Contact Sandra Smith for more information.
Guardian Angels Parish
Parish Office
(513) 231-7440
Stephen Ministry Hotline
(513) 624-2254
Grief Support Ministry is a group of people coming together to share their grief experiences with others who have lost a loved one through death. Meetings are twice a month on the first and third Thursday at 7:00pm.
Stephen Ministry For assistance or to volunteer, call the Stephen Ministry Hotline.
Holy Family Parish
Parish Office
(513) 921-7527
Emmaus Ministry is a ministry of spiritual companionship to encourage and support Christians back to emotional, spiritual, and physical health. Our goal is to mentor individuals or couples into a deeper relationship with their God by listening, loving, caring, and praying with them.
Immaculate Heart of Mary
Judy Sherlock
(513) 965-9889
Marisue Naber (513) 388-4184
Grief Support is a faith-based group which provides an opportunity for those who have lost a family member to deal with their grief in an atmosphere of care and support. Contact Judy Sherlock for more information.
Ministers of Compassion offer pastoral and spiritual support to families who are grieving the death of a loved one. For more information contact Marisue Naber.
Our Lady of the Visitation
Ken Meymann (513) 347-2219
Linda Mayhaus (513) 941-8130
Carolyn Menner (513) 574-3109
Stephen Ministry Hotline
(513) 347-4411
Elizabeth Ministry This is a ministry for women and their families who may need the support of another woman or family who have experienced a similar situation such as the loss of a baby through miscarriage. Contact Ken Meymann, Linda Mayhaus, or Carolyn Menner for more information.
Stephen Ministry For assistance or to volunteer, call the Stephen Ministry Hotline.
St. Aloysius Church (Shandon)
Nancy Padgett
(513) 738-1014
Grief Support and Counselling This 'as needed' ministry is based on either referrals from the Pastor or the Bereavement group. Contact Nancy Padgett in the church office if you would need support.
St. Andrew (Milford)
Judy Hoffman
(513) 831-0587
Grief Support of St. Andrew is a group meeting where you can find healing and help with the hurt of losing a loved one.
St. Bartholomew Parish
Ken Brand (513) 541-0793
Widow & Widower Social Faith Connection This faith-based social group meets informally once a month - dinner out, Mass and brunch, a faith event or concert, etc. If you have experienced the loss of a spouse, we hope you'll join us for fun and fellowship!
St. Columban
Tim Crowley
(513) 340-4844 x218
Linda Corbett
GriefShare runs for 14 weeks twice a year (spring and fall). Contact Tim Crowley for more information.
Stephen Ministry If you or someone you know is in need of a Stephen Minister, please contact the Confidential Line at 683-0105 ext. 120. To serve as a Stephen Minister contact Linda Corbett.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (Milford)
Herberta Young
(513) 831-9437
Widows Luncheon Club meets monthly to build friendships.
St. Ignatius
Stephen Ministry Hotline
(513) 389-3247
Stephen Ministry is an organization through which members of St. Ignatius are trained and organized to help provide Christian caregiving to members of our congregation, and community. For assistance or to volunteer, call the Stephen Ministry Hotline.
St. John the Evangelist (West Chester)
Ron Meyer (513) 376-1277
Kathy McConnell (513) 560-6151
Scott Steinke (513) 777-6433 x115
Fr. Don West (513) 777-6433
Companions on a Journey Join us on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month 7-8:30 p.m. in the Hospitality Room so that you can learn about the grief you are experiencing and know that it’s normal, it’s natural, and it’s necessary. The group is facilitated by life coach Ron Meyer and Kathy McConnell.
Stephen Ministry If you would like more information or feel the need to talk, please call or email Scott Steinke.
Divorced & Separated Support Group For more information, call or email Fr. Don West at the Parish Office, or Mary Taylor.
St. Margaret of York
Mary Kuenzig
(513) 300-1537
Stephanie Ramsey
(513) 331-0358
PLUS: Prayerful, Loving, Understanding, Support The Pregnancy Loss Ministry provides caring support to those who have lost a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, newborn death or SIDS through information, group support meetings, liturgical activities, and prayer. Contact Mary Kuenzig for more information.
Surviving Divorce Surviving Divorce is for newly separated and divorced individuals as well as those still struggling with issues many years later. For more information or to register, contact Steyphanie Ramsey.
St. Maximilian Kolbe
Heather Mann or John Pucke
(513) 777-4322 x218
[email protected]
Chuck Michael (513) 608-7112
Stephen Ministry equips lay people to provide confidential, one-to-one Christian care to individuals in our parish and community who are experiencing difficulties in their lives. Contact Heather Mann or John Pucke for more information.
Surviving Divorce is a twelve-week program featuring thirty-minute DVD sessions each week. For information about upcoming sessions and to register contact Chuck Michael.
St. Thomas More Withamsville
Shane Rieder
(513) 752-9523
Elizabeth Ministry responds to the joys and sorrows of a woman and her family's life during childbearing years. For more information, contact Shane Rieder.

Media Resources

In our media-driven world, it is imperative to use media resources to work to spread the Gospel of Life. Below are a variety of media resources that address grief and bereavement.

Articles

This article is part of the Being Pro Life Campaign and features personal stories of those affected by pregnancy loss. This campaign includes an article, video, and podcast that effectively convey what it means to have a consistent ethic of life.

This article focuses on debunking common myths and biases towards divorce in the Catholic Church from the perspective of someone who has experienced it.

“We can and must do better for all our marginalized Catholics.”  This article focuses on debunking incorrect theology regarding Catholicism and divorce.

Videos & Movies

An excellent way to help people to understand an issue is to present them with a story. The below webinars,  videos, and documentaries are great resources for discussion on the topic of bereavement. 

In this webinar, authors David Aaker and Jan Nelson will help participants give voice to those who suffer, as well as those who care for the suffering. How do we give voice to ambiguous losses, for example, when we lose our job, become ill, or are deployed?

Join M. Donna MacLeod, a nationally recognized hospice care and bereavement specialist and author of Seasons of Hope: Creating and Sustaining Catholic Bereavement Groups and Participant Journals, as we explore what makes the Seasons of Hope bereavement group approach truly minister to the spiritual side of grieving.

Funerals are meant to help us cope with the loss of a loved one, but that is only one of many deeper purposes they serve. In this video, Fr. Mike shares the wisdom of the Church in making funerals a time to recall God’s mercy, and pray for the faithful departed.

Get Involved

To support those who are grieving in our community, it is essential for those who feel called to get involved.  Whether that is through working towards advocacy, awareness, service or prayer. Below are a list of ways to get involved.

Advocacy & Awareness

In order to foster a better awareness of care and support for our grieving brothers and sisters in Christ, there are a number of things that we can do to promote a culture of love and healing in our parishes.  For those who have suffered the loss of a loved one, bereavement ministry must continue beyond the funeral.  It is important to advocate for this in our parishes for those who may not be in an emotional state to advocate for themselves.  For those who have experienced miscarriage, working to eliminate stigma and providing a support ministry for this loss is incredibly important.  Finally for those experiencing divorce or separation, having a strong faith community who embraces them through the loss is essential.  Divorce ministry is incredibly important to the continued healing and faith development of people who often feel marginalized.

Prayer

Dearest Jesus, who wept at the death of your friend and taught that they who mourn shall be comforted, grant us the comfort of your presence in our loss. Send Your Holy Spirit to direct us lest we make hasty or foolish decisions. Send Your Spirit to give us courage lest through fear we recoil from living. Send Your Spirit to bring us your peace lest bitterness, false guilt, or regret take root in our hearts. The Lord has given.  The Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Amen.

 

O sweet mother Mary, who knew the sadness of mourning those your heart loved most, Jesus, your Son, and Joseph, your devoted spouse, pray for us in our time of loss. Amen.

 

Service

To promote the Pro-Life cause within our community, it takes many hands. Service is essential to meet the needs of the grieving in our parish communities. We must show them the love they deserve, so that they can heal through God’s loving grace.  There are many organizations listed ABOVE to support in a variety of way.  Through donating, volunteering, or helping to spread awareness in our communities, we can work to provide bereavement services for all those who grieve.

Contact Us:

Bob Wurzelbacher

Office Director
(513)263-6674

Kara Ross

Associate Director
(937)281-4127

Noelle Collis-DeVito

Associate Director
(937)281-4128