Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Washington

Resources for Families


Dealing with the death of a loved one is never easy, yet our faith as Christians allows us to see beyond the present moment of our grief. We regard the death of a loved one as a stage in the journey every human person must take. We are loved into existence by the will of God and the cooperation of our parents in His will. Throughout our lives, we come to know our Heavenly Father more deeply through our experiences and our lives of faith. As we move through death, we pray that we will come into union with God and see him as he is, face to face.

In both our dying and our grieving, we can look to Jesus Christ himself as our companion on this human journey. Christ shows us that suffering and death need not be useless and for nothing, but instead can be redemptive. His sorrow over the deep pain caused by the death of his friend, Lazarus, reminds us that even Jesus wept. And his resurrection gives us hope that our loved ones and we ourselves can have a share in his everlasting life. Jesus Christ invites us to join our suffering and our sorrow with his and invites us to be with him forever in everlasting life.

From the beginning, the Church too has walked this path of suffering, death, and sorrow with us. Jesusís mother, Mary, and the first disciples were thrown into disarray, confusion, and horrified grief by the suffering and death he endured. The saints through the ages have demonstrated not only how to live as a Christian, but also how to grieve and die like a Christian. The sacraments of Reconciliation (Confession), Holy Communion, and Anointing of the Sick fortify the dying on their journey to the Father and give comfort and hope to the family and friends they leave behind.

Information and resources are available to those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. The Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Washington presents this partial listing of people and organizations in the Washington, D.C. area that offer help to the bereaved:

The Bereavement Program
Parish and Hospital-based bereavement support groups,for individuals and families grieving from a death loss.The Bereavement Program is open to the entire community. Many participants are referred to the program through Holy Cross Hospital and Holy Cross Hospice. The program is structured as a seven or eight-week cycle of sessions, depending on the time of year. Groups are formed for those experiencing the loss of a spouse and for those who have lost another family member or loved one. Group size is limited to about twelve participants, so there may be more than one group meeting at the same time. Meetings are held on Wednesday evenings from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Holy Cross Resource Center, 9805 Dameron Drive, Silver Spring, MD 20902. The program is free of charge, but participants must register by calling the program coordinator, Catherine Hatch.

Contact: Katherine Hatch, Program Coordinator

Rainbows for All Children
Rainbows is the largest international non-profit dedicated to helping children and teens grieve and grow after loss. Rainbows partners with schools, faith communities, and social services agencies to establish grief support groups for children and help those who are grieving a death, divorce, or other painful transitions in their families. It offers age-appropriate curricula that help build the confidence and self-esteem of children during this very difficult time in their lives. The program is free to all participants.

Parents or caregivers should contact Rainbows through their website to find a local group:

Post Cana
Lives change dramatically after the death of a spouse. These Social and Spiritual support groups for widows and widowers meet locally throughout the Archdiocese.

Contact: Mary Jo Rodgers

Parish Program: St. Matthias Apostle Parish, Lanham, MD/Holy Family Parish, Mitchellville, MD
This program meets weekly and is open to parishioners in the areas surrounding Greenbelt, Lanham, and Mitchellville in Prince Georgeís County. Meetings are held every Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the school library.

Contact: Miriam Jacik

Parish Program: St. Raphael Catholic Church, Rockville, Maryland
Living with Loss Bereavement Program

The Bereavement Ministry is a group of concerned and trained parishioners who have themselves experienced death through the loss of a significant person, have joined together to create the program, Living with Loss, a seven-week bereavement session held twice a year to offer personal support, practical ideas and a spiritual; perspective to help affected persons move through the bereavement process.

Coordinator: Ursula Boesch

For more information about bereavement programs in your area, please contact:

Office for Family Life Ministry
Archdiocese of Washington
Fax: 301-853-7660