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Parish-based Support Groups

General Bereavement Support Group

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. Bereavement support groups meet within the four counties of the Archdiocese on the parish level. 

For the locations & times of the general bereavement support groups, please contact the Office of Family Life Ministries at (973) 497-4327. 

Annual Retreat Day for Bereaved Parents

Click here for more information about Emmaus Ministry and their other retreats being offered

Loss of Child Support Group

The needs of those who have suffered the loss of a child are special. One of those needs is to share the pain with others who have experienced this very difficult kind of grief. Our support groups are led by trained facilitators - parents who have personally experienced the death of a child. There is hope. There is help. It is possible to survive even this loss. For the locations & times of the Bereaved Parents Support Groups, please contact the Office of Family Life Ministries at (973) 497-4327 

Bereaved Parents Support Group- Meets on the 3rd Monday of each month

St. Peter the Apostle RC Church
Rectory Basement
445 Fifth Avenue
River Edge, NJ 07661
7:30pm to 9:30pm
No pre-registration required & no fee

Please contact the parish first to see if a group is still meeting since the covid pandemic has halted many ministries that may or may not have restarted.

Annual Liturgies for Parents Grieving the Death of a Child

To further support the needs of grieving parents, the Family Life Office offers to assist parishes to offer a Mass for Parents Grieving the Death of a Child. Please contact the office if your parish is interested.

A Morning of Healing: For Perinatal Loss is offered for parents who have suffered the loss of a child due to miscarriage, stillbirth or neo-natal death. Please contact the Office of Family Life Ministries at (973) 497-4327


Archdiocesan Bereavement Parents Support Groups

Perinatal Loss Resource List

Separated/Divorced Support Groups

Click Here for a List of Parish Separated/Divorced Support Groups

Assisting with the care of children and parents during separation or after a divorce

  • Make the well-being of the child the top priority – that they are loved above all else as always by parents, family, friends, and God.
  • Communicate in an age-appropriate understanding the meaning and reality of divorce, why parents are divorcing, and in a language that the child can comprehend.
  • Encourage and answer all questions honestly that the child can comprehend and tolerate knowing.
  • Help the child to identify and express all their feelings honestly, acknowledge their feelings – it is a traumatic disruption, loss and change event.
  • Assurance to the child from both parents that they will continue to be there for them, but in a different arrangement, proving stability and structure of lifestyle and relationships.
  • Child needs to know that the divorce is not their fault, or God’s fault.
  • Importance that there be as little disruption of normal routines and continuity of supports – family, neighborhood, school, parish community.
  • Do not expose the child to adult conflict, disrespectful or abusive behavior between parents.
  • Do not speak negatively about the other parent with the child.
  • Notify parents of close friends of the separation/divorce.
  • Notify the school of separation/divorce for support services.
  • Parent(s) should seek out support from parish community for child and parents – Divorce Recovery support group, pastoral support, resources.
  • Seek out professional counseling for the child, family – Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark may be able to help.
  • Attend support groups for separation/divorce for parents.

"Surviving Divorce" A Parish Program for the Divorced or Separated

No one normally marries with a conscious intent to divorce, yet countless Catholics are doing just that.  Whatever circumstance ends a marriage, a spouse is left behind and a family is forever changed.  In addition to dealing with overwhelming emotions, financial and family problems, huge numbers of separated and divorced Catholics:

  • stop attending Mass or leave the Church completely
  • ignore - or misunderstand - the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding separation and divorce
  • do not realize the deep healing power that lies within the Church

"Surviving Divorce" has been chosen by the Office of Family Life Ministries as the program to be used in all Archdiocesan parish outreach for the separated and divorced. Experts in the DVD series include Rose Sweet, Surviving Divorce producer and author of Healing the Divorced Heart; Dr. Ray Guarendi, clinical psychologist, Catholic author, and host of Ave Maria Radio’s The Doctor Is In; Fr. Mitch Pacwa, priest, biblical scholar, and author; Fr. Donald Calloway, priest, author, and popular EWTN host; Fr. Steve Porter, priest, biblical scholar, and spiritual director; and Christopher West, Catholic speaker and expert on St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. It also includes personal testimonies of Catholic men and women who have experienced the breakdown of their families. They courageously share their stories with heart, humor, and wisdom. 

This 12-week DVD/discussion program is based on the teachings of the Catholic Church and is open to anyone who needs comfort, counsel, and clarity after divorce.

  • the spiritual life and the teachings of the Catholic Church on separation and divorce
  • fear, anger, depression and loneliness
  • financial issues
  • court battles, parenting, custody and visitation
  • Church annulment
  • singleness, dating again, remarriage, sex, and chastity 

Single Parent Ministry

According to US Census data, 30% of children living in New Jersey currently live in a single parent household. Single Parenting is difficult, non-stop and often goes unappreciated. For many single parents, they are a provider, nurturer and disciplinarian. It can be overwhelming trying to carry out each of these roles. The Family Life Office has created and is offering a support group specific to the needs of single parents.     

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. For the locations & times of the Single Parent Support Groups, contact the Office of Family Life Ministries at (973) 497-4327.

Also, click here to join Family Life's New Jersey Christian Single Parents Facebook Group

Contact Us

Brian Caldwell                               
Jennifer Ferraioli
Associate Director, Marriage Preparation
Yamilka Genao, M.E., M.A.P.M.
Associate Director                       
Hispanic Life Ministries / Pastoral Familiar Hispana
Marriage Preparation / Enrichment
Natural Family Planning (NFP)
Ministry of loss & Healing
John Kalinowski                              
Coordinator, Ministry of Loss & Healing