What is the Saint Simon Grief Support Group?

This faith-based support group brings together members of the Saint Simon Parish community who are experiencing grief from the loss of a loved one.  Whether it’s the loss a spouse, a parent, a sibling, a child, or any other close loved one, we all benefit from support and companionship from others who have experienced similar experiences.  We are here to support each other through discussion and prayer. During these sessions, we will examine the common stages of grief to help participants understand the very natural and important process of grieving. We usually on the 2nd Thursday of the month at 7:00pm in the Holy Family Room (sometimes changes due to Gavin’s work schedule). Join the mailing list email: communications@stsimon.org

Who is the group for?

Anyone who is experiencing grief from the loss of a spouse, close family member or friend whether recently or years ago.

How will the meetings be run?

We will meet monthly and use a book to help us with our discussion (books will be provided by Saint Simon Parish).

Who is the Facilitator?

Gavin Corn has been a member of Saint Simon Parish since 2015 when he moved to California from Virginia with his three children, Tristan, Sofia and Liam, who attended Saint Simon Parish School.  Gavin lost his wife Fiona to pancreatic cancer in 2012.  He had previously lost his father to pancreatic cancer, and his mother passed away three months after his wife. Gavin is an attorney and former federal prosecutor who specializes in cybersecurity.

For more information, email communications@stsimon.org

What is a support group?

A support group is a gathering of people facing common issues to share what’s troubling them. Through the sharing of experiences, they’re able to offer support, encouragement, and comfort to other group members, and receive the same in return.

What is a grief support group?

Support in dealing with the grief experience is a valuable way of helping yourself or someone you know. Support groups often provide an opportunity for grieving persons to better understand the wide range of feelings and behaviors associated with grief. More importantly, support groups offer a safe place where people can come together for mutual support, to learn that their feelings are normal, and that one need not be alone.

What is a religious grief support group?

Religious support groups can be described as the social support individuals receive as a result of their religious beliefs and participation in religious activities. It is a faith-based bereavement discussion group that helps parishioners who have lost a loved one. It offers them a place to share their feelings of grief openly and offers support from others experiencing the same path toward healing. We understand and process grief as people of faith when we understand the presence of grief and lament in Scripture, the importance of empathy and hospitality in the grieving process, and practical ways to support those who are grieving.

As Catholics, we have a duty to follow our beliefs to comfort those who mourn, to feed the poor, and so forth. We can only manage our intense grief by reviving our faith and hope, by maintaining the bonds beyond the grave, and by continuing to prepare our own soul for our heavenly journey. Catholics believe in the communion of saints which emphasizes that the dead do not leave us permanently, but rather are waiting for us in heaven. Catholics mourn death with hope.

Grief during the Holidays by Gavin Corn

For those grieving the loss of a loved one, Christmas can be one of the most difficult times of the year.  This time of joy, peace and beauty can feel very different when you are missing such a big part of your life and yourself.  But there are a few things you can do to find joy and peace again in this special time of year: 

Find time to pray.  Don’t forget that God is still with you and walking by your side during your grief, and he knows when you need more support.  Find some quiet time to pray and simply listen.


-Set realistic expectations for yourself and others.  Don’t overburden yourself by trying to carry all of the burden you have in the past.  Maybe you are the one who always prepared Christmas dinner?  It is ok to say no to filling that role if you need to readjust.  Accept the offers of others to help.


-Think about celebrating Christmas with people you love in a new place, and consider creating new traditions. This can be a helpful way to reconnect with the joy of Christmas.  The year my wife passed, I took my kids on a vacation with my brothers and their families rather than staying home.  I wasn’t ready to be in my house on Christmas Day, and being in a new location with people we loved helped us all to adjust to our new reality.  We also started some new traditions, including each of us picking an ornament for my wife each year.


-Allow yourself to feel joy, anger and sadness.  Try not to feel guilty if you feel happy.  Your loved one wants you to feel joy again and you are not being disloyal when you do so.  At the same time, don’t feel that you need to hide your other emotions from others.  They will flood into your heart in waves.  It is ok – let yourself feel them and take time to process them.


-Take care of yourself.  Stay away from unhealthy habits.  Get exercise, listen to happy music, write in a journal, do some other things that bring you joy and help you to stay healthy.


-Remember that your loved one is still with you.  Jesus gave us the ultimate gift of forgiveness and love so that we can be together in eternity.  Remember that we are here for a short time but with God and our loved ones forever!