This Pastoral Project Report is an account of the planning, implementation and
evaluation of a three-session series developed to further the spiritual formation and grief
education of parishioners who feel called to minister to their bereaved sisters and
brothers. The sessions, called “Grief in the Context of Christian Community,” were given
at St. Monica Parish, in Indianapolis, Indiana, during January and February 1999. The
first two sessions were repeated at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in March.
St. Monica Parish’s bereavement ministry program began about three years ago.
During this period its mission broadened to include several more services than it did
when it first began in 1996. Because more people are needed to serve, and because some
normal attrition common to all volunteer ministries had occurred, the bereavement
ministry issued a call for new members. Several new people responded to the call. The
leadership realized that it was necessary to provide training for these new people, as well
as continuing education for the experienced volunteers.