Grief & Consolation

Grief and Grace

A time of sorrow can be, even with its difficulties, a unique time of grace for the grieving and for those who grieve with them.

St. Paul knew this. At the beginning of his Second Letter to the Corinthians he said: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

Comforting the sorrowful is one of the seven spiritual works of mercy rooted in the life of Jesus, a ministry perpetuated by Catholic parishes in the Archdiocese of San Francisco through the gifts of trained members.

If you are grieving . . .
the Archdiocese of San Francisco offers many formal, parish-based support groups and events led by trained facilitators, many of whom themselves have suffered personal loss.

If you’d like to be trained to support the grieving . . .
Comforting the sorrowful does not mean removing the sorrow, much less restoring what was lost. Often it means to simply be present as the face of Christ to those who suffer. This is the straightforward counsel of St. Paul: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Rom 12:15)

The Archdiocese of San Francisco offers training for parishioners who wish to formally offer this spiritual work of mercy by becoming ministers of consolation.

Whether you are grieving or would like to join our ministry of consolation please contact us directly and let us answer any questions you may have.

Resources

Mental Health Minstry

The Archdiocesan Mental Health Ministry is pleased to offer Sister Hope to the people of the Archdiocese (instructions below)

Learn More

Events Calendar (Consolation Ministry)

(Calendar updated 1/7/21) 

The loss of someone we held dear is a painful process that takes time and rearranges our entire life and its former priorities. Though others may walk with us listening to our story the journey through grief is a singular one in which God leads us into a new way of living without the one we cherished. 
Learning to “heart walk” with the person no longer at our side takes time and energy.

BUT God walks within us and carries us in love until we are ready to live again in new ways. Faith-Hope-and Love are the stepping stones; courage to make the journey allows me to step softly and then with conviction as healing begins.  Each parish is ready to assist you.

The list below represents those known for a particular grief outreach.
Those with a* have small group assistance.
Others have one on one support to assist you.   
                  Please call first as restrictions will likely affect program offerings
 –Check the San Francisco Catholic to see additional offerings.

Once a month at Holy Cross Cemetery there is a Mass for all those who have died
(THIS IS CURRENTLY SUSPENDED, DUE TO COVID RESTRICTIONS)
whether or not they are buried at Holy Cross.
We are aware many of you are unable to go home to celebrate the death of a loved one. 
We invite you to bring your family and pray with us at Holy Cross and in your local parish.

Finally: Be grateful for the life of the person you will never forget

Grief Support Group

Church of the Nativity
6 weeks  (virtual, via Zoom)
11:00 a.m.-12:30 PM
Fridays, Feb. 12- Mar 19

Goals: to provide educational information about grief and loss,
-to assist members in developing coping and adapting skills
-to offer emotional support.  
More info or to register: Sheila Kennedy, LCSW
(650)619-7079 or Sheila-kennedy@sbcglobal.net

Monthly Grief Support Programs

Reminder — Always call first please,
as programs may depend on the latest restrictions

St Mary’s Cathedral 
ZOOM Video/Telephone Meetings

Strength for the Journey

Monthly Support Group for People with Life-Threatening Illnessese

( Feb 5, Mar 5, April 2)  1st Fridays   1:00 – 3:00pm  .
This ministry offers spiritual support for people with life threatening illnesses.
Diagnosis of such an illness can provide an opportunity
to seek spiritual support through Word, Sacrament and Community.

This free support group will also provide guidance on Catholic Teaching
and the preparation of Health Care Directives for medical care. 

Meetings are facilitated by Deacon R. Christoph Sandoval 
Please email Deacon  to join:  

 For further details/ registration call 415-567-2020 Ext. 218
or  email   csandoval@stmarycathedralsf.org 

THROUGH DARKNESS INTO NEW LIGHT

Spiritual Grief Support Group

(Jan 15, Feb 19. Mar 19) 3rd Fridays,  10:30 a.m. to Noon.

These sessions provide information on the grieving process
and tips on coping with the loss of a loved one.
This is an opportunity to mourn in a safe, private and confidential setting.

Meetings are facilitated by Deacon R. Christoph Sandoval 
Please email Deacon  to join:  

 For further details/ registration call 415-567-2020 Ext. 218
or  email   csandoval@stmarycathedralsf.org 

Grieving with Great Hope

This is a very good 5-part series on grief, available through Formed.org
It can be accessed here 
A subscription is required – many parishes have access
If that isn’t accessible, you can also start a free 7-day trial and watch at least some of these
– deciding if you want to pay to continue. 

GriefShare

GriefShare is a Christian, nondenominational ministry, which offers friendly, caring group of people
who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences.
You don’t have to go through the grieving process alone.

More information or to find a local group here

Drop-in Grief Support groups (Mission Hospice)

Events are free; everyone is welcome no ; RSVP needed.
Schedules and locations are subject to changeOnline, 12 week
closed grief support group    (limited to 8 persons)  please check our website or call 650-554-1000 and ask for the bereavement department.

San Mateo

Mission Hospice
1670 South Amphlett, #300, San Mateoplease check our website or call 650-554-1000 and ask for the bereavement department. Tuesday evenings: 6 – 7:30pm
1st and 3rd Saturdays: 10 – 11:30am
2nd and 4th Saturdays: 10 – 11:30am – for widows/widowers.
To ask about childcare, please call Tracie Pyers, 650-534-4947.
3rd Thursday evening, 6 – 7:30pm – Suicide Loss Group,
before attending for the first time, please call Isabel Stenzel at 650-931-8236
Pacifica
540 Crespi Drive, Pacifica3rd Friday: 10:30 – Noon

Specialized Grief Support Groups

Mission Hospice,  
1670 S. Amphlett Blvd. #300, San Mateo
First Wednesday of the month

TO REGISTER / MORE INFORMATION: contact Isabel Stenzel, LCSW, Bereavement Coordinator
650.931.8236 or istenzel@MissionHospice.org

Check your parish bulletin for opportunities close to home and remember our cemeteries have a monthly Mass for the deceased
(those who have died a long time ago as well as recently are remembered. All are welcome.)

CADA MIERCOLES GRUPO DE APOYO – ‘SANANDO EL CORAZON

Este grupo de apoyo es para adultos (mayores de 18 años de edad) que hablan Español y que hayan sufrido la perdida de un ser querido.
Si aprendemos cómo ayudarnos a nosotros mismos durante el luto,
se puede facilitar el proceso del dolor.
Miércoles de 6 – 7:30 pm, en Mission Hospice (1670 S. Amphlett Blvd. #300, San Mateo)

Estas pláticas son coordinadas por la consejera profesional,
Sara Martinez, MSW, Trabajadora Social.
El servicio es totalmente gratuito y no es necesario inscribirse.

Parish Grief Support Groups

Grief Support Group

Church of the Nativity
6 weeks  (virtual, via Zoom)
11:00 a.m.-12:30 PM
Fridays, Feb. 12- Mar 19

Goals: to provide educational information about grief and loss,
-to assist members in developing coping and adapting skills
-to offer emotional support.  
More info or to register: Sheila Kennedy, LCSW
(650)619-7079 or Sheila-kennedy@sbcglobal.net

Monthly Grief Support Programs

Reminder — Always call first please,
as programs may depend on the latest restrictions

St Mary’s Cathedral 
ZOOM Video/Telephone Meetings

Strength for the Journey

Monthly Support Group for People with Life-Threatening Illnessese

( Feb 5, Mar 5, April 2)  1st Fridays   1:00 – 3:00pm  .
This ministry offers spiritual support for people with life threatening illnesses.
Diagnosis of such an illness can provide an opportunity
to seek spiritual support through Word, Sacrament and Community.

This free support group will also provide guidance on Catholic Teaching
and the preparation of Health Care Directives for medical care. 

Meetings are facilitated by Deacon R. Christoph Sandoval 
Please email Deacon  to join:  

 For further details/ registration call 415-567-2020 Ext. 218
or  email   csandoval@stmarycathedralsf.org 

THROUGH DARKNESS INTO NEW LIGHT

Spiritual Grief Support Group

(Jan 15, Feb 19. Mar 19) 3rd Fridays,  10:30 a.m. to Noon.

These sessions provide information on the grieving process
and tips on coping with the loss of a loved one.
This is an opportunity to mourn in a safe, private and confidential setting.

Meetings are facilitated by Deacon R. Christoph Sandoval 
Please email Deacon  to join:  

 For further details/ registration call 415-567-2020 Ext. 218
or  email   csandoval@stmarycathedralsf.org 

Grieving with Great Hope

This is a very good 5-part series on grief, available through Formed.org
It can be accessed here 
A subscription is required – many parishes have access
If that isn’t accessible, you can also start a free 7-day trial and watch at least some of these
– deciding if you want to pay to continue. 

GriefShare

GriefShare is a Christian, nondenominational ministry, which offers friendly, caring group of people
who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences.
You don’t have to go through the grieving process alone.

More information or to find a local group here

Drop-in Grief Support groups (Mission Hospice)

Events are free; everyone is welcome no ; RSVP needed.
Schedules and locations are subject to changeOnline, 12 week
closed grief support group    (limited to 8 persons)  please check our website or call 650-554-1000 and ask for the bereavement department.

San Mateo

Mission Hospice
1670 South Amphlett, #300, San Mateoplease check our website or call 650-554-1000 and ask for the bereavement department. Tuesday evenings: 6 – 7:30pm
1st and 3rd Saturdays: 10 – 11:30am
2nd and 4th Saturdays: 10 – 11:30am – for widows/widowers.
To ask about childcare, please call Tracie Pyers, 650-534-4947.
3rd Thursday evening, 6 – 7:30pm – Suicide Loss Group,
before attending for the first time, please call Isabel Stenzel at 650-931-8236
Pacifica
540 Crespi Drive, Pacifica3rd Friday: 10:30 – Noon

Specialized Grief Support Groups

Mission Hospice,  
1670 S. Amphlett Blvd. #300, San Mateo
First Wednesday of the month

TO REGISTER / MORE INFORMATION: contact Isabel Stenzel, LCSW, Bereavement Coordinator
650.931.8236 or istenzel@MissionHospice.org

Check your parish bulletin for opportunities close to home and remember our cemeteries have a monthly Mass for the deceased
(those who have died a long time ago as well as recently are remembered. All are welcome.)

CADA MIERCOLES GRUPO DE APOYO – ‘SANANDO EL CORAZON

Este grupo de apoyo es para adultos (mayores de 18 años de edad) que hablan Español y que hayan sufrido la perdida de un ser querido.
Si aprendemos cómo ayudarnos a nosotros mismos durante el luto,
se puede facilitar el proceso del dolor.
Miércoles de 6 – 7:30 pm, en Mission Hospice (1670 S. Amphlett Blvd. #300, San Mateo)

Estas pláticas son coordinadas por la consejera profesional,
Sara Martinez, MSW, Trabajadora Social.
El servicio es totalmente gratuito y no es necesario inscribirse.

Bereavement Ministers

If you’d like to be trained to support the grieving . . .
Comforting the sorrowful does not mean removing the sorrow, much less restoring what was lost.
Often it means to simply be present as the face of Christ to those who suffer. This is the straightforward counsel of St. Paul: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Rom 12:15)

The Archdiocese of San Francisco offers training for parishioners who wish to formally
offer this spiritual work of mercy by becoming ministers of consolation.

Bereavment Ministers Training

The Church calls each member of Christ’s body — priest, deacon as well as layperson — to participate in the ministry of consolation: to care for the dying, to pray for the dead, and to comfort those who mourn. Mercy Sister Toni Lynn Gallagher prepares lay volunteers to support their parish communities as bereavement ministers through a comprehensive training program that covers:

  • Order of Christian funerals
  • The grief process
  • Listening/communication skills
  • Caring for the minister
  • Planning your program
  • Support groups

The training is intended to help raise the awareness of grief and the needs of grieving people and cultivate parish-based grief care programs. Bereavement ministers will obtain the tools and education they need to be present to the bereaved and will be equipped to help sponsor parish grief support groups.

Other Community Resources

KARA
457 Kingsley Avenue, Palo Alto  CA  94301 
650-321-5272 – call for specific groups. 
Drop-in group:  1st and 3rdWednesdays of the month (7:00 – 8:30 pm). 
Drop-in group:  2nd and 4th  Tuesdays of the month (1:00 – 2:30 pm). 
Men’s Drop in Group: 4th Tuesday of the month (7:00 – 8:30 pm) 

Menlo Park Presbyterian Church 
950 Santa Cruz Avenue, Menlo Park  CA 94025 
Grief Support ~ Drop in.  Call for updated schedule. 
Contact Monte Fisher: 650-888-3215c  or 650-330-7581w or mfisher@menlo.church
Widows and Widowers Grief Recovery ~  Contact  Sandy Ciardella  650-854-3605
                                                                               
MILL-PENINSULA HOSPITAL  (or MILL)
HAND – Help After Neonatal Death (Peninsula) 
650-367-6993 or email info@handsupport.org 

Loss, Grief and Bereavement Support Group 
Phone:  650-696-5400 

MISSION HOSPICE AND HOME CARE 
1670 S. Amphlett Blvd., Suite 300, San Mateo CA  94402 
650-554-1000 
Bereavement Coordinator: Roby Newman, LCSW 
rnewman@missionhospice.org 
or  Isabel Stenzel  650 931 8236 
istenzel@Missionhospice.org

We offer individual bereavement counseling to adults, teens, and children, in the office or home,
to hospice families and community clients (sliding scale fee for community clients) 

We offer the following support groups: 
Drop-in support groups Tuesday and Saturdays, Coastside Grief Support Group,
Spanish Grief Support Group in Redwood City.  Specialty groups: “Coping with the Holidays”
grief support group and “Writing through Loss” grief support group 

PATHWAYS 
Pathways Hospice offers a free grief support group for those suffering a loss of a loved one. The group provides a safe place for sharing and support, along with discussions about the grieving process, loneliness, longing, anger, coping skills, lifestyle transitions and much more.
For further information, please contact Kylin Navarro at 408-773-4295.
See list of supportive workshops online @pathwayshealth.org/grief-support 

 DEATH CAFÉS – Death Cafes are now offered weekly, and have provided a robust and interesting way to meet with others to talk about managing this pandemic, thoughts about death, experiences around death, thoughts, fears, concerns about loss and grief. You can find more information about Death Café here.

Tuesday, October  27th, 10 – Noon, to participate, register here.
Tuesday, November 3rd, 10 – Noon, to participate, register here.

AFSP American Foundation for Suicide Prevention 
800 273 8255    afsp.org

Clear Mourning
www.clearmourning .org

Peninsula & South Bay 
Contact:  Vivian Shults: • (group support, workshops)       call: 408.773.4241
              Tom May: (individual support)                              call: 408-773-4329 

San Francisco/East Bay 
Contact: Dave Rutschman, Bereavement Services Manager  •  call: 650.808.4603 or email: bereavement@pathwayshealth.org             Stepping Stones
Adult day health care service to San Francisco’s frail seniors and adults with disabilities.
Provides respite for family care-givers as well as a program of nursing services,
transportation, medication management, physical and occupational therapy,
hot lunch and personal care.  A multi-lingual staff at four locations in the city:
private pay, as well as financial assistance for those eligible
for MediCal or VA assistance, are all available.  
Contact ruiyang@steppingstonehealth.org or 415 974 6784  ext. 23 .
This could be a real aid and comfort to those in need.  

SUTTER CARE 
Sutter Care at Home offers several options. suttercareathome.org/GriefSupport/SanMateo.html
Contact Dawn Torre; MA at 650-685-2830  or email torred1@sutterhealth.org   or
Richard Jamil, MS (Children’s Bereavement Program Coordinator) at 650-685-2852

ADDITIONAL WEBSITES 
Grieving with great hope (Formed.org)
griefshare.org 
missionhospice.org 

Contact

Whether you are grieving or would like to join our ministry of consolation,
please contact us directly and let us answer any questions you may have.

Grief and Consolation Ministry
One Peter Yorke Way
San Francisco, CA 94109

Ed Hopfner, Director
hopfnere@sfarch.org
415-614-5547

Sr. Toni Lynn Gallagher RSM, Bereavement Coordinator
1555 39th Ave., San Francisco CA 94122
tlgallagher@sistersofmercy.org  
415-317-4436