Bereavement Ministry

"Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted"

When we grieve, our heavenly Father wants us to find consolation in His loving arms. The Saint John Neumann Bereavement Ministry offers an opportunity to experience healing following the loss of a loved one. We offer a variety of opportunities for overcoming our sense of grief and loneliness by reaching out to friends, attending monthly gatherings, commemorating our loss and turning to God for strength. If you want to meet others who have had similar experiences of the loss of a loved one, share with them your thoughts and feelings and be invited to draw closer to God and others in a safe, non-judgmental environment, please join us. Our hope is to reawaken our zest for life as we search for meaning in the death of our loved ones.

Role of the SJN Bereavement Ministry

The Bereavement Ministry at St. John Neumann is led by clergy and lay ministers who have themselves experienced the loss of a spouse, a child or a parent. Our role is to be companions with those who are grieving and help grieving people to feel less helpless and discover continued meaning in life by:

  • Giving them a Catholic-Christian forum to draw closer to God during a time of grief and to search for meaning in life and death.

  • Introducing them to others who have had similar experiences, thoughts and feelings and countering their sense of isolation.

  • Providing emotional, physical and spiritual support in a safe, nonjudgmental environment.

  • Allowing them to express and explore their many thoughts and feeling about grief.

  • Offering opportunities to learn new ways of approaching problems they encounter in the grieving/mourning process.

  • Helping them to trust God and their fellow humans and bond again in what can feel like an unsafe, uncaring world.

  • Providing them a supportive and prayerful environment that can reawaken their zest for life and give them hope for healing

  • Provide opportunities to celebrate and commemorate the gift their loved one had been for them through prayer and worship on special occasions.

If you have questions, use the contact information button.

Bereavement Ministry Activities

Specifics will always be listed in the weekly bulletins.

Group Gatherings

  • 1st Sunday of each month after the 11:00 a.m. mass.

  • We will have lunch and offer an informal forum to express and explore our many thoughts and feeling about grief and learn new ways of approaching problems we encounter in the grieving/mourning process.

Periodic Bereavement Support Groups

  • A support group is a more structured way to learn about and understand the grieving process.

  • While we do not provide this ministry at SJN, we are part of the Richmond area Bereavement Coalition and have information about many of the support groups offered throughout the Richmond area.

One-on-One Pastoral Counseling

  • Meet with Deacon Jim, Father Lewis, or a member of our Bereavement Ministry team.

  • This provides an opportunity for you to express and explore your feelings of grief outside the group setting.

Prayer Services on Holy Days

  • Prayers for your loved one on special days, such as All Souls Day.

SJN Bereavement Ministry Ground Rules

  • To ensure we maintain a safe, non-judgmental environment we ask everyone participating in our ministry to follow these simple rules for all of our activities:

  • Each person’s grief is unique, so we will respect and accept what we all have in common and what is unique to each member of the group.

  • There is no time table for how long it takes to heal so there is no pre-set time for beginning or ending your participation in this ministry.

  • We will create an atmosphere of willing, invited sharing. Everyone will be given the opportunity to share. Feel free to talk about your grief. We heal by sharing!

  • You are your own gatekeeper. Your right to quiet contemplation will be respected by the group. Be respectful if someone else decides to listen without sharing.

  • Be a good active listener. Do not interrupt someone else who is speaking. Allow each person equal time to express himself or herself. Don’t monopolize the group’s time.

  • Respect others rights to confidentiality. Thoughts, feelings and experiences shared in this group will stay in this group.

  • Avoid advice giving unless it is specifically requested by a group member. We are companions, not therapist. Recognize that thoughts and feelings are neither right nor wrong. Enter into the thoughts and feelings of other group member without trying to judge or change them.