Chicagoland

Archdiocese launches online grief groups to offer comfort, prayer

By Michelle Martin | Staff writer
Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Online groups for people grieving the loss of a loved one will begin meeting May 26 and continue at least through the end of June.

The groups, an effort of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s “radical hospitality” task force, are intended to allow people to talk about their experience and pray with others in the same situation, and to get the kind of comfort they would normally get from their fellow parishioners.

“It’s basically to listen to people’s stories, to give them a place to have a conversation about what they have just been through,” said Cathy Walz, the archdiocese’s director of pastoral accompaniment. “In normal times, it would be someone from the parish coming over after the funeral or committal service and asking the widow how she’s doing.”

The image the archdiocese is using is one of Martha and Mary, whom Jesus comforted after the death of their brother, Lazarus.

Groups will meet online weekly at more than 15 times, with English, Spanish and Polish options available. Each group will be led by two or three volunteer facilitators. There are meetings scheduled in the morning, afternoon and evening and every day of the week except Sunday.

“This is not counseling,” Walz said. “The role of the facilitators is to listen and to pray. We’ve heard from a number of people who are really longing for that.”

Groups are scheduled to meet each week through the end of June so far, Walz said.

There is no cost to participants, and the groups are open to anyone over 18 years old who has lost a loved one. Groups are expected to include about five people, in addition to the facilitators.

To participate, find the link to register at archchicago.org/coronavirus/online-grief-groups. Participants will be able to choose the meeting time that works best for them, and then be sent links to join the meetings over Zoom.

Topics:

  • grief
  • coronavirus
  • covid-19

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