"A bereavement minister is a companion on the journey to healing . . ."
Why a Bereavement Ministry?
The Ministry of Bereavement is a service ministry to persons who have lost a loved one. Its purpose is: To assist the family at the funeral Mass. To assure that no parish member will grieve alone.
How does this fit into the practice of the church?
When reflecting on the appearances of Jesus after the resurrection, one becomes aware that Jesus journeyed with people in their grief in various situations. In the Emmaus story, Jesus stayed until the others felt a new Easter presence. A bereavement minister is likewise a companion to others on their journey to healing.
How is the Ministry organized?
When the services of a bereavement team are needed, a parish staff member notifies the bereavement contact person. The contact person, in turn, notifies a team of ministers, composed of service ministers, liturgical ministers, and on-going support ministers. Teams are then organized to serve the family at the funeral.
If I volunteered for this ministry, what specific duties would I have?
There are three types of ministries involved: Service, On-going Support, and Liturgical.
1. Service Ministry would include one or more of the following tasks:
Greet visitors at wakes held in church.
Offer hospitality at the wake.
Offer hospitality at the funeral (refreshments, tissues, phone access, greeting visitors, etc.)
2. Liturgical Ministry — serve at funeral as reader, Eucharistic minister, or acolyte.
3. On-going Support Ministry — offer support with phone calls, mail or visits during the mourning period.
What would be my time commitment?
An occasional wake service in church, approximately 3 hours.
An occasional funeral service, approximately 2 and a half hours.
On-going support with periodic cards, phone calls or visits during the grieving process, approximately 2 hours.
Would there be training for me if I volunteered for this ministry?
The delicate nature of this ministry requires training. There is a mandatory in-service of four evenings, with two-hour sessions each evening.
To maintain a high quality of service, there is on-going evaluation of the program, with one or two in-service sessions each year, to meet the needs of the volunteers.
For more information and a training schedule, please call Bonnie Pendzick, Bereavement Ministry Coordinator, at (414) 215-7470.