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Loss and Transition

Programs are open to people of all faiths.

When family members are faced with the challenges of daily living following major life upheavals, the Family Life Office can offer support. Many who hunger for God’s consolation after the loss of a loved one, whether it be from death, separation or divorce, will find that parish-based support groups can allow them the opportunity for support in a spiritual context. Attendance at a support group has long been recognized as a valuable tool in grief recovery. Groups can provide connection and understanding in a spiritually-centered, confidential, non-judgmental setting. They can also offer education about the grief process and other important resources to assist healing.  Archdiocesan support groups are led by lay people, deacons and religious who are trained facilitators and all groups are open to those of all faiths. 

General Bereavement Support Groups: Bereavement support groups typically meet in a parish setting with varied formats. The facilitator’s goal is to provide a safe place where the bereaved can share their experiences with others, learn about the process of grief and be supported by their Church family during a difficult time.

Bereaved Parents Support Groups: It is important for parents who have lost a child to share their pain with others who have also experienced this difficult and unique kind of grief. The Family Life Office sponsors three support groups for Parents Who Have Lost a Child. These support groups are led by trained facilitators who have themselves experienced the death of a child. 

Bereaved Parents: To further support the needs of grieving parents, the Family Life Office offers an annual liturgy for those who have suffered the death of a child. Parents, their families and friends are invited to attend a special Mass often held on the Friday evening before Mother’s Day at Notre Dame RC Church in North Caldwell, NJ. A full day annual retreat, A Day of Comfort and Hope, is offered for parents who have lost a child.

Separated/Divorced Support Groups: Surviving Divorce has been chosen by the Family Life Office as the program to be used for Archdiocesan support groups for the separated and divorced.  This 12-week series, based on the Theology of the Body, offers information about the teachings of the Catholic Church and supports the process of emotional, spiritual and psychological healing following the breakup of a marriage.

Single Parent Support Groups: Support groups were created within the Archdiocese to offer encouragement to single parent families who may be struggling with many hardships. The groups create a place where single parents can realize that they are not alone, there are others who understand their situation, that they belong in the parish community and that the church cares for them.

Counseling and other Referrals: The Family Life Office is able to make referrals to Catholic licensed mental health professionals for individual, marriage and family therapy.  We can also help with referrals to Archdiocesan and outside programs that can assist families with specific needs, such as, troubled marriages, same sex attraction, pornography, substance use disorders, post-abortion healing, healing the wounds of physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritual abuse.

Support Group Facilitator Training: Many of our volunteers feel a call to the consolation ministry due to their own experience of loss. Others may have recognized a specific need in their parish to help comfort those who are grieving. We run several different training programs to support those who would like to minister to the bereaved and facilitate a parish support group. 

Click Parish Based Support Groups on the right menu for
the list and location of all parish support groups.


Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline

1-800-572-7233

24 Hour Hotlines

Bergen County:
201-944-9600
*TTY: 201-836-3071
Batterers Services: 201-336-7575

Union County:
908-355-4357
*TTY: 908-355-1023
Batterers Services: 908-355-1995

Hudson County:
201-333-5700
*TTY: 201-333-0547

Essex County:
973-484-4446
Batterers Services: 973-399-3400

*hearing impaired

Office of Family Life Ministries

Phone: 973-497-4323
Fax: 973-497-4317