Grief Ministry

The mission of the St. Benedict Grief Ministry is to support those who are suffering grief from the loss of a loved one and to “companion” with them as they walk the road of bereavement to a “new normal.”

When a grieving family has a need, the St. Benedict Grief Ministry will call on the parish for help in offering support. Our grief ministry is based on the “companioning on the journey” model, used in other Catholic parishes and dioceses throughout the country. We’ll be offering many avenues for you to be a companion (in little ways and bigger ways) which will make a difference to those who have lost a loved one to death. Please contact [email protected] for more information.


St Benedict Grief Ministry Teams

Review here a variety of avenues in which to support our NEW parish ministry to those who are mourning the loss of a loved one. Contact Mary Helen Gammon and Jane Talbot at [email protected] to discuss your interest or ask questions.



LEADERS: Gail Emondi & Virginia Falcone

GOAL: to keep lines of communcation open for the grief ministry with both those who are grieving and the parish at large


*handle parish communication – bulletin notices, flyers

*manage grief brochures on the parish display wall

*send cards, messages to those grieving

*make phone calls to grievers

*prepare & manage grief material folders

This team will develop new tasks as they determine needs.

These behind-the-scene volunteers will provide valuable support to those who are mourning through the materials they prepare and send.



LEADERS: Eileen Morini & Robin Smith 

GOAL: to manage all technology needs for this ministry


*maintain all data, electronic recordkeeping

*personalize deliverables

*create new materials with technology

*work with Communications Team maintaining timelines for service

*provide IT support for all teams 

This team will develop new tasks as they determine needs.

These are behind-the-scene volunteers who will provide valuable support in the smooth running of the Grief Ministry.



LEADER:  Martha Vadney

GOALS: to be ongoing, supportive “companions” to those walking a grief journey


*to make contact with new grievers within the first month following a death

*to maintain monthly contact with visits or phone calls throughout the first year of mourning

*to be a listener, following the “Companioning in Grief” model

*to refer specific needs to other teams for assistance, specifically to Outreach and Resources

This team will develop new tasks as they determine needs.

These will be one-on-one volunteers working with grieving individuals.




GOALS: to build a list of services that parishioners can offer to those who are mourning and to make arrangements for those services


*prepare a list of possible services to be offered to those in grief (ex. a meal, a household chore, help with paperwork or computer issues, yardwork, etc)

*recruit from the parish at large, volunteers for each category of service

manage requests and schedule help

*stay in contact with other parish ministries who can help (ex. Womens Club, Mons group, Mens Group, Prayer Shawl, Boy Scouts, K of C, etc)

This team will develop new tasks as they determine needs.

These are both behind-the-scene and one-on-one volunteers depending on the task or service offered.



LEADER: Susan Zeleniak 

GOALS: to bring the love of God into everything the ministry does in service to those who mourn


*arrange for grief needs to be remembered in group/private prayer at St Benedict

*work with Fr. Mark to arrange parish remembrances, All Souls Day and at other times

*prepare opening and closing prayer for the 12 session Grief Support Group (beginning Aug 28)

This team will develop new tasks as they determine needs.

These are largely behind-the-scene volunteers who provide prayerful support to all involved in the grief ministry, both grievers and our volunteers. There may  also be opportunities for one-on-one prayer with grievers.




GOALS: to locate and recommend grief resources (books, websites, other resources) to support both grievers and the volunteers supporting them

*review and recommend websites on grief to be included in the Resources link on our parish website

*read and review recommended books on grief for inclusion in a parish library shelf

*prepare and execute a library sharing plan

This team will develop new tasks as they determine needs.

These are behind-the-scene volunteers who will provide valuable support to grievers, ministry volunteers and the parish at large by gathering useful materials to educate all on issue of grief and mourning.



LEADERS: Jane Talbot, Mary Helen Gammon and Bob Braun

GOALS: to train, plan for, and facilitate our 12 session grief support group

*complete online training throught the Archdiocese of Atlanta grief ministry program

*complete Safe Haven training/certification through the parish

*meet to prepare lesson plans, materials for each session

*attend the support group and faciliate as scheduled

This team will develop new tasks as they determine needs.

These will be one-on-one volunteers working with grieving individuals.


What is grief? What is mourning? Are they the same?

 Grief is a natural reaction to loss, a deep sorrow following the death of a loved one. Grief has been described as a strong, sometimes overwhelming emotion steming from a major loss like the death of a loved one.

 What is mourning?

 Mourning is the open expression of thoughts and feelings regarding the death of a loved one.

 Are grief and mourning interchangeable terms?

 Mourning refers to the outward expressions of a grief which is internal and unique for each person who grieves.


What is grief ministry?

 Grief ministry is a way of serving others by offering loving support and comfort at times of loss. These ministers offer the gift of their time, to hear the thoughts and share the tears of those who are mourning.

Grief ministry provides comfort and support in a number of ways.

Care can be expressed through:

           - prayer opportunities,

            -assistance with daily tasks from funeral arrangements to food or transportation,

            -a comforting presence to listen and stay in touch, 

           - offering of grief materials and literature,

           - a grief support group

A Grief Ministry will begin at St. Benedict parish this summer. A grief support group will begin meeting weekly at St. Benedict from Aug 28 - Nov 13 on Wednesday afternoons. A program description will follow next month. Watch the bulletin or check the website for further information.

If you feel called to this ministry, want to participate in the grief support group or have any questions, please contact Mary Helen Gammon or Jane Talbot through [email protected]

What is the “companioning” model of grief support?

The Companioning Model is about walking with those who are grieving. Grief support is not about “leading” or “fixing” the griever. Companioning is about ears that can listen and a heart that cares. Companioning is about honoring another's pain by being alongside them, respecting their journey but not taking charge of it. Companions are friends, not experts. Using the companioning model one can support another in reaching a point of reconciliation with grief. With that reconciliation, life continues and the griever is able to move from a relationship based on the physical presence of the loved one to a relationship based on memories. The companioning model is flexible and flowing, gentle and loving. In the end the companioning model honors the fact the each griever's journey is his/her own and is unique.

The Companioning Model of grief support is based on the work of Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. In our grief support group, we will use his book entitled Understanding Your Grief and the associated materials for sharing. The program will meet for 12 weekly sessions beginning August 28, 2019.