The death of a loved one can be one of the hardest things that we experience in our lives. To help people navigate through the journey of grieving a loved one who has died, St. Monica's Bereavement Ministry offers an annual Mass of Remembrance, support groups and provides information about grief resources in the broader community.
Are you grieving the loss of a loved one? You don't have to do alone!
St. Monica sponsors a peer support group that is co-facilitated by at least two bereavement ministers, who have also lost loved ones, and have received training to effectively and sensitively facilitate the group. The group experience is a 10-week process, and is offered three times a year (fall, winter, spring). Group participants are asked to commit to attending all sessions.
In the group, members join together on Zoom to pray, reflect, and share their experiences. To help guide this process, we use The New Day Journal by Mauryeen O’Brien as the foundation for our sessions.
Reflections from Bereavement Group Members
Many participants have found the group experience to be a positive one, and have reported that they have begun to rediscover love, peace and joy in their lives. Here are some reflections from three of our past group members:
Losing my mom hit me hard. I had friends that had lost one or both parents, so they welcomed me to “the club.” However, it wasn’t enough to help me cope with her loss and the heaviness of the grief I was carrying around with me. I wasn’t sure if I would ever shake it off. I had never attended any type of support group before, but I knew I needed to do something. I joined a bereavement group at St. Monica about nine months after she passed, which was the right time for me. It was helpful to have a group of people to talk to and share with in the community. I didn’t realize I had so much to work through, and when it was all over, I was in a much better place and I had lost that heavy feeling. I cannot recommend it enough. And, I can’t even begin to sing the praises of the leaders, they are so special with the care and support they give to help you through the journey.
I participated in the fall 2017 Bereavement Group after losing my husband. From my first contact with the program coordinator, Christine, I felt comforted and hopeful. I found the group to be organized in a beautiful way with four loving facilitators. We used a journal that helped me with every aspect of my grief experience. I found it especially helpful reading our answers to questions in the journal with all the members of the group and all four facilitators then breaking up into small groups for more intimate sharing with one facilitator. The last week was wonderful with a Celebration of Life to honor our loved ones. I am very grateful to the St. Monica Bereavement Ministry for providing a group where I could begin healing.
I had honored and mourned my father with the traditional ceremonies, both large and small; I set aside time for reflection and feelings; and after a respectable and reasonable period of time, I thought I had to resume life, charge forward and move on. Well, grief is a strange thing. It has ways of sneaking up and washing over us. Sometimes with very little warning. After several bouts of overwhelming loss, a friend recommended St. Monica’s Bereavement Group. I went not knowing what to expect or even if I would stay through the first meeting. What I found upon entering, and every week after, was a warm, peaceful, safe space to express my feelings of sadness. Where I could speak openly and honestly, without interruption, judgement or anyone trying to 'fix it’. This time was just for me and my memory of my father. The facilitators and other group members held my heart during one of its weakest times. I am eternally grateful for their care, empathy and support.
Our Bereavement Ministers are grateful for the privilege and opportunity to walk through the grief process with these group members and many more. And if you would like to share your story of love for someone whom you have lost, we would be honored to hear it.
Our Fall group begins with an orientation on Thursday, Sep. 9, at 7:00 p.m., and will meet weekly through Nov. 18.
If you feel you need support before our next group, contact us immediately and we can refer you to other resources.
One-on-one compassionate listening provided by a trained volunteer Caregiver
Pastoral Appointment with a Priest
American Martyrs Catholic Community: Manhattan Beach
Bereavement support groups
Contact Deacon Chris at (310) 545-5651 x 356
Our House: West Los Angeles and Woodland Hills
Grief support groups at sliding scale
Tranquil Hospice Bereavement Support Groups: Santa Monica
Ongoing bereavement support groups open to the community
Grief Haven: Pacific Palisades
Resources and support groups for parents who have lost a child of any age
WISE and Healthy Aging: Santa Monica
Bereavement support groups for senior citizens
Contact WISE at (310) 394-9871, extension 373
Jewish Family Service Santa Monica: Santa Monica
Individual counseling at sliding scale
Didi Hirsh CMHC: Survivors After Suicide: Culver City
Support groups for family and friends impacted by suicide