The Bereavement Ministry provides ongoing support and companionship to parishioners who have lost a loved one and helps guide them in their journey from grief to healing.
This ministry at St. Anthony Church provides the 9-week group program, New Day, twice a year, followed by a “reunion evening” 3 months after the program. The New Day Seminar program was created by Sister Mauryeen O’Brien in the early 1990's and has been used in many churches across Connecticut to offer support to those going through the early stages of grief.
Additionally, our Pastoral Minister provides ongoing support to parishioners who have lost a loved one and helps guide them in their journey from grief to healing.
Fall 2022 update:
Are you grieving the loss of a loved one?
St. Anthony Church is offering a 9-week program where individuals can share their grief stories and learn about the grieving process and its tasks for healing. The sessions are conducted by trained facilitators, who have experienced grief in their lives, and are able to help you move through the tasks of grief. It is not a therapy session, but an opportunity to share with others who have experienced losses themselves. All denominations are welcome. The sessions will begin Wednesday, September 21, 2022 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. There is no cost for this program. Books used in the group are generously donated by Prospect Memorial/The Palmerie Family Funeral Home. Registration is needed, as space is limited. For information, please call Charlotte Scaviola 203-758-5711, Claudette Decilla 203- 758-6283, or Jill Blewitt 203 758-5599.
Mauryeen O’Brien, a Dominican Sister of Hope, is the former Director of Bereaved and Divorced ministries for the Archdiocese of Hartford. She is also a retreat director, certified grief counselor, and support group facilitator trainer. Sister Mauryeen has authored several books on bereavement, including Lift Up Your Hearts: Meditations for Those Who Mourn, Gentle Keeping: Prayers and Services for Remembering Departed Loved Ones Throughout the Year, Praying Through Grief, and her most recent, Catholic and Mourning a Loss: 5 Challenges and 5 Opportunities. She is also past president of the board of Trustees for the National Catholic Ministry to the Bereaved. Though Sister Mauryeen O'Brien is retired now, her work has left lasting impacts on many church communities. Click here to watch her speech on "The Journey Through Grief" from 2019.
Charlotte Scaviola, Claudette DeCilla and Jill Blewitt have been trained to co-facilitate this group in our parish. Charlotte has even had the "honor and privilege" to be trained by Sister Mauryeen in the early 2000s. "When I was in her presence, I felt as if I was with someone hand-chosen by our Lord. A very special lady."
The late Evelyn Kiley was the pastoral minister and was clinically trained in working with the bereaved. The church currently has not hired another pastoral minister or someone who can offer individual counseling.