Saturday, January 10, 2004

Grieving Companions helps those struggling with loss

Faith matters

By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

CLIFTON - Joyce Asfour knows what it's like to grieve; she lost her husband, Victor, in 1989.

That's why she and others at St. Monica-St. George Catholic Church take their ministry to those experiencing loss seriously.

"I'm a widow; that's how I got involved. Myself and some other widows felt like there needed to be a place to go for help for people like us," Asfour said.

That led the Bereavement Committee at St. Monica-St. George to start Grieving Companions, a support group for people facing loss.

"We've had people come because of divorce, illness, loss of a job and death of a loved one," Asfour said. "Grief is grief."

Rita Reichert of the Bereavement Committee said she got involved because she'd lost her brothers in 1988 and 1989.

"I just felt that because of what I'd been through with my brothers, I had something to offer," she said. "It's comforting to just be able to voice what you're going through and not be judged."

The group is fluid, with some people attending only a few meetings, and is open to people of all faith backgrounds, or no faith at all.

The group meets at 10 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month at the church center, former school building, 328 E. McMillan St.

For more information, call the church office at 381-6400.

WELCOMING THE NEW YEAR: The Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church will host a service to welcome the new year at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the church's Erie Building at 3020 Erie Ave., Hyde Park.

The Taize Prayer Service is open to the public, and members of neighboring churches will join in the celebration.

The Taize service consists of music, gospel readings, chants and quiet mediation, is based on ancient Christian traditions revived by the Church of the Reconciliation in the village of Taize, France.

AUTHOR TO SPEAK: George Weigel, author of Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II will speak as a part of the Athenaeum of Ohio's 175th anniversary lecture series.

At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Weigel will present, "The Soul of Pope John Paul II," looking at the Pope's interior life and its effect on his pontificate and the world, at the Athenaeum, 6616 Beechmont Ave, Anderson Township.

Weigel, the director of Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, is considered one of America's leading commentators on religion and public life and a foremost authority on the Pope and papacy, said Walt Schaefer, communications director for the Athenaeum.

For more information, call the Athenaeum at 231-2223.

To submit religion news, e-mail or send a fax to 755-4150.

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