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Grief as a Journey:

Grief as a Journey: Our Walk to Emmaus


Program Overview

This program is designed to be conducted weekly in nine consecutive sessions: 

  • Session 1: Telling Our Story – the prayerful art of journaling, sharing, naming and normalizing the feelings that accompany death.
  • Session 2: Making Sense of Grief – invites participants to recognize the choices that they have made, and to anticipate the choices they will have to make.
  • Session 3: Grief and Our Emotions – invites participants to confront and deal with their emotions (as opposed to suppressing them).
  • Session 4: Adjusting to Our Loss – explores the many ways that the death of a loved one affect the whole person.
  • Session 5: Remembering Our Loved Ones – presents the relationship between memories, intentionally remembering and gratitude.
  • Session 6: Who Am I Becoming? – invites participants to gain a sense of what their present and future.
  • Session 7: Who Am I Now? – explores themes of reconciliation.
  • Session 8: What Have I Really Lost? And Where Do I Go Now? – is a two part session that explores secondary losses and healthy approaches to grief.
  • Session 9: Grief as a Journey of Faith: Grief and Our Catholic Faith – explores themes related to the practice of the sacraments, and in light of the Resurrection. 

Guide to Facilitators

Pastors and their respective pastoral teams should consult the Facilitator’s Manual and its program role descriptions when discerning whom to call into this ministry. It is anticipated that most facilitators will be drawn from those who have lived through the experience of grief, and who have integrated this experience into their own faith life in such a way that they are role models within the Christian community.

This program can be emotionally rewarding, and at the same time, very demanding for facilitators. It requires a significant amount of preparatory work time before each session.

With that in mind, it is normally suggested that facilitators, as (primarily) volunteers and peers, be exclusively involved in this ministry during the planning and conduct of the program. The program may also include paid staff members, and certainly clergy (pastors, associate pastors and deacons) depending upon their particular gifts and availability.

The program is designed to be conducted by a team (two facilitators per team at minimum.)

In addition to the initial and ongoing training requirements of the program, all facilitators must meet all of the requirements for the Save Environments and Abuse Prevention Program of the Archdiocese of Edmonton prior to any involvement with this program.


Grief Matters ™

The resources for all nine sessions include videos (DVD) from the Centre for the Grief Journey entitled Grief Matters as guide and aide to parish facilitator teams. This resource is a required element of the program, and can be sourced directly from or through the Archdiocese of Edmonton, Office of Life and Family at

Grief as a Journey

Faciliator manuals and participant journals for the Grief as a Journey program are available only from the Archdiocese of Edmonton Office of Life and Family.





To order any of these materials, please contact the Life and Family Office.

Coordinator: Steven Defer
Phone: 780-469-1010 ext. 2159

Complicated Grief and Difficult Cases

This program is not intended as an alternative to professional counselling or medical care. The experience of grief can include many complications which may require medical, and/or other professional intervention. While there are many resources available within the Archdiocese of Edmonton, pastors (and their respective teams) may consult directly with Catholic Social Services at: or by calling them directly at 780-391-3233.