Grief in the Context of Christian Community: A Formation Process for Parish Bereavement Ministers

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Borschel, Audrey
Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology
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.