My immediate feelings were shock. Then my family and I had to wait to learn “what next to do”, then it was time to plan and travel, meet the media, go to court, plan and attend his memorial and etc. When I returned home, very few wanted to know about his death, or how I was feeling. ‘Where to turn?’”
We are becoming more and more aware that many families in our parish communities and our neighborhoods are affected by this tragedy, and we know how important it is that the Church is present with these families. During 2012, 47 people were murdered in the city of San Bernardino, alone.
The Office of Restorative Justice offers a two-day training to prepare parish leaders, bereavement ministers, spiritual directors, youth ministers and school teachers in how to respond more compassionately and effectively to families affected by murder. The workshop covers the following topics:
• The ripple effect of crime and the many people affected.
• The components of grief specific to murder.
• How the criminal justice process works and how that affects families.
Workshop participants have the opportunity of hearing from a panel of people that had a loved one murdered as well as a panel from the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office. The next training in English will be held Sunday, Nov. 10 (Part I) and Sunday, Nov. 17 (Part 2), both from 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. The next training in Spanish will be Sunday, Jan. 19 (Part I) and Sunday, Jan. 28 (Part 2), both from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
We will be offering a “Day of Healing” (for English and Spanish speakers) at St. Andrew’s Abbey in peaceful and beautiful Valyermo on Saturday, September 14th from 8:30am to 7:00pm for those who have lost a loved one to murder.
Something new starts in September 2013! There will be a ten-week support group for any adult who has lost a loved one to murder or suicide. The English speaking group will meet at The Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Redlands on Wednesday nights beginning September 11. The Spanish speaking group will also begin in September but the location is still to be determined.
Sr. Sue Reif, O.S.F., is director of the Office of Restorative Justice in the Diocese of San Bernardino.