Frequently Asked Questions

No, it doesn’t matter how or when your child died. We have parents whose children have died as the result of miscarriage, illness, accident, suicide, and violence. Children’s ages at death range from neonatal to adult. All are welcome.
The mission of The Emmaus Ministry for Grieving Parents is to provide a variety of programs focused on spiritual assistance for bereaved parents and on the spirituality of their grief journey. We believe the Holy Spirit guides your participation in the ministry and leads you to us when you are ready. We have welcomed parents whose children have died only one to two months ago, as well as those whose children have died more than 40 years ago.
Spiritual focus is the core of this ministry because we believe that only in our relationship with God will we will find the answers to our questions, comfort for our pain, and peace with the loss of our child. This belief and focus is what sets our ministry apart from most other groups serving bereaved parents.
In many ways, this ministry is a support group. However, we call it a “ministry” because we are focused primarily on providing spiritual help. Other reasons we call it a ministry…
It focuses on your personal spiritual needs, as opposed to the needs of a group.
It requires no sharing of information or story, unless you feel totally comfortable doing so with other parents. It is always acceptable to “pass.”
In focusing on the spiritual perspective in dealing with the death of your child, it seeks to help you to answer such questions as, “Where is God in all of this… Where is God in my life right now… How could God let this happen… Where do I turn now that God has abandoned me… Will I every see my child again… Where is my child right now.. How can I ensure that any good comes from all of this horror…”
It is true, however, that many parents attending our programs forge strong bonds through their common experience and, in some manner, function as a “support group” for each other.
No, you do not have to be particularly religious to participate in this ministry. While the ministry incorporates various teachings and liturgies of the Catholic Church, no practice or observance of “religion” is absolutely necessary—other than openness to hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives as we make our way through this long and difficult journey.
Our programs are presented by Emmaus Parent Companions, who have all lost a child, and so know something of the pain you feel. They are knowledgeable bereavement companions who use their personal experiences to accompany you in your spiritual journey of processing and dealing with the horrific feelings that accompany the death of your child.

In addition, Catholic Clergy, Religious, and Spiritual Directors serve as Retreat Team Companions, both directly and indirectly. All Retreat Team Companions constantly keep us and our children in prayer. In addition, they serve on individual Retreat Teams in various capacities throughout the year.

The Clergy, Religious, and Spiritual Directors of this ministry freely admit that they cannot know or experience a parent’s pain. They can, however, tremendously assist in our search for some understanding of God’s presence in our experience; they can help us find ways to draw us closer to our absent children; and they can companion us on our journey.

If you are interested in bringing this ministry to your area, call us at (800) 919-9332 or send us an email.
An Emmaus Ministry Chapter Program is comprised of a small group of 2-6 dedicated parents joined by one or more Clergy, Religious, and/or Spiritual Directors, who are committed to following the mission of this program and bringing the ministry to their individual parishes or location.

We fully support our Chapters by providing the first few spiritual retreats in total—and supporting them with templates of all materials. Many Chapters will eventually coordinate the ministry and its programs entirely on their own.

No. In the Franciscan Tradition of “All Are Welcome,” all of our programs are open to any grieving parent, regardless of religion, circumstances, or past experiences with this ministry.
Yes. The Emmaus Ministry is a recognized 501(c)(3) organization and all contributions are deductible for federal income tax purposes to the fullest extent allowed by law. Your generous contribution will sponsor scholarships for parents who could not otherwise afford to attend our programs. And it will help to subsidize the cost of The Emmaus Ministry Chapter Program, which assists parents in introducing the ministry to their local areas. Please DONATE now!