Radio Show

Helping Those Who Are Grieving


After a conversation about different forms of grief ministry, Father Dave and Brett get a call from a listener who wants to share what her parish does to comfort the sorrowful. In addition to helping the bereaved choose readings for the funeral and assisting with other tasks in the short term, ministers check in periodically with family members of the deceased over the course of the following year.

Father Dave emphatically agrees that this is a wonderful course for grief ministry to take, and he says that one of the common complaints he hears about some parish ministries is that they don’t walk with parishioners in the long-term as successfully as they do in the short term. He explains that this could be helped greatly by grief ministers doing exactly what the caller describes and following up with those who are in mourning, not just in the days leading up to the funeral, but in the months afterward.

Brett also speaks to this, by drawing a comparison to another faith tradition: “I was reminded of sitting shiva in the Jewish tradition … They do seven days to mourn as a group.”

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Father Dave recalls his time as a seminarian, when his class visited a rabbinical school for an interfaith discussion of mourning: “I was in a small discussion group with a woman, and I remember this very visually — she had striking red hair, very long red hair, that she had just let down out of a bun for 11 months. And she had not listened to the radio either in 11 months as her mourning practice, because her father had died 11 months before. And the 11-month mark is when those of the Jewish faith go to the cemetery, and they unveil the gravestone for the first time.”

The grieving process is longer than just one day or one weekend — it can take many months or even years to mourn someone’s loss. So, like the caller said about her parish’s ministry, it’s very meaningful to accompany those who have lost a loved one on a longer journey as they try to find comfort and peace. (Original Air 02-07-17)