Skip to content Skip to menu

Practical support is offered on a voluntary basis for short term emergency care by parishes operating care programs. The support offered is unique to each individual parish and is determined by the volunteers available. Support is offered free of charge by Coordinators and volunteers who are unpaid. The parish also does not receive funding for this voluntary work.

As all practical support is undertaken by volunteers, sufficient notice should be given to allow time for the Coordinators of the program to locate a volunteer who is available to carry out the task at the required time. If sufficient notice is not given, a volunteer may not be available to undertake the task. (This is especially important for transport to doctors and specialists appointments).

When a volunteer is not available, the coordinator may be able to direct you to another agency or organisation which may be able to help you.

Bereavement Support

Bereavement SupportCare programs in some parishes offer Bereavement Support Groups which support the bereaved by providing a regular opportunity to share their stories in a safe and comforting environment.

Bereavement Support Groups also aim to support and assist people who are bereaved in the

  • understanding of the grief process
  • adjustment to the loss
  • taking on a new direction in life

The Grief Recovery Method® Outreach Program

Betty Thompson

The Grief Recovery Method® Outreach Program has been established throughout the United States and Canada through the Grief Recovery Institute, an organisation founded by John W James and Russell Friedman after experiencing recovery from personal grief and loss.

Out of this awareness The Grief Recovery Handbook was written and is used as a basis for the Outreach Program. The concepts of grief recovery presented in this book represent a breakthrough in helping grieving people deal successfully with loss.

People say you have to let go and move on in your life, but they don’t tell you what you need to do to accomplish that. The Grief Recovery Method® Outreach Program not only makes that possible, but provides skills and tools within a safe environment with partnerships and guidance to ensure that it happens.

“Most professionals have addressed grief from a conceptual, intellectual perspective. This has often left grievers with much understanding – but very little recovery.” The Grief Recovery Handbook.

Catholic Outreach is delighted to offer the 7 week Grief Recovery Method Program to grieving people who are dealing with losses from death, relationship, career, trust, faith, safety, health and other losses.

Betty Thompson, a certified Grief Recovery Specialist said that over time the pain of unresolved grief is cumulative and can have a lifelong negative impact on a person’s capacity for happiness. The tools implemented are designed to integrate grief into people’s lives and support a more contented life. Betty was very encouraged by the positive comments made by the participants.

What participants have said about the program

“I realised there were many losses in my life which I hadn’t dealt with in a manner to bring closure to certain relationships and events. Emotionally they affected me still but I was unable to ‘let go’ as I didn’t have the necessary tools. Doing this program gave me the tools necessary. I have a much better perspective.” Silvana

“I gained an understanding of grief and taking hold of grief, putting grief into writing and sharing it with my partner helped tremendously.” Shelia

“Acknowledgement of the fact that I carried many misconceived ideas of what grief is, how it affects me and what I can do to assist myself in working through it. I will hopefully have a ‘listening heart’ to my grief and to the grief of others. The program closed doors and opened windows.”  Rosemary

“I gained a clearer understanding of grief and the tools to work with in the present as well as the losses from the past that can still have an impact on the present.” Dennise

“I gained a better understanding of what grief really means. It is not just someone passing away but involves so many other experiences in life.” Cheryl

“I gained a self-awareness of past behaviours and experiences and a deeper appreciation of faith beliefs in coping with grief. Exhilarating and revealing.” John

“I gained the awareness that I need to deal with my grief (with someone I trust) if I want to live the life that I want to live. Everybody has a share in their own grieving, sharing makes it half as painful and doubly effective.” Bonnie

“A lot of the past surfaced and it has been a great relief after voicing it. I have learnt that one can slowly overcome past tribulations by using the very simple guidelines in the book.” Caroline

“The tools learnt gave me greater wisdom in identifying both the positive and negative aspects of every relationship. I learnt that grief is part of being human. This takes a lifetime of learning.” Fr Patrick

“It was very worthwhile, very informative and I have thoroughly enjoyed doing this program. I have learnt to deal with my feelings, how to respond to people who have just gone through loss, either through death, divorce and other losses. I have already recommended the Grief Recovery Method Program to a couple of my friends.” Juliana

“I found the Grief Recovery Method Program absolutely worthwhile and I would recommend it to other people. The presenter was excellent, and every session was very clear and concise.” Caroline

“To begin with I found some of the concepts a struggle but as I continued it became clear how rewarding and worthwhile the Grief Recovery Method Program is. I learnt how important it is to forgive oneself and this was achieved easily through the helpful examples in the handbook. I would definitely recommend this program to others.” Faye

“I learnt that grieving isn’t limited to losses through death alone but in many other losses in life. The Grief Recovery Method Program has taught me more about my own experience of grief and loss. It may be beneficial to have a follow up to the Grief Recovery Method Program in a few months’ time to see how participants have fared.” Stephanie

“The program is extremely useful and empowering and helped me immensely. The book is also a great tool.
I understood the myths of grief, the ineffective ways we deal with grief including energy relieving behaviours. I could complete my grieving process and the incomplete things in the relationship. I learnt that every relationship has positive and negative aspects and the importance of forgiveness, asking for apology for things not done and of the importance of acknowledging and including significant emotional statements in our letter.” Participant 2020

“The facilitator had also done this work, and this was what gave me an immense feeling of safety for the huge task ahead of me.
Extremely worthwhile! I am already feeling more peaceful with my struggle. Very appropriate, nonjudgmental material. Grief Recovery Method stands out as an exceptional tool, far ahead of others I have tried to use. Simple but effective.” Participant 2020

Emergency Meals

In most care programs, Coordinators can organise a volunteer to provide an emergency meal, such as a casserole, for a family in need. For example, meals may be provided for a short period when someone is recovering from an operation or other crisis.

Family Support

Family SupportParents often appreciate support, especially during stressful times (e.g. sickness), when a care program may be able to offer (subject to available volunteers with Working with Children Cards)

  • to read to a child
  • to take a child on an outing
  • to care for a child with a disability.


The occasional handyman, gardening or lawn mowing job can often be organised for a frail aged person or someone facing a crisis.

Home Help

Emergency home help (such as cleaning, general housework, ironing and washing) will often assist someone in short term need.


TransportRequests for transport are some of the most frequent calls received and it is very important to give as much notice as possible to allow the Coordinator time to locate a volunteer who is available to carry out the task at the required time (especially for appointments during office hours). If sufficient notice is not given, a volunteer may not be available to undertake the task. Volunteers are available to undertake driving jobs such as going to/from

  • Mass
  • doctors and specialists
  • hospitals
  • banks
  • shopping
  • other.


VisitationVisiting is more and more important in society today where social isolation and loneliness is very prevalent. Volunteers are available to

  • visit the sick, lonely or a person with a disability (in your home or at a cafe)
  • sit with a house bound person to allow the “Primary Carer” time off
  • read to the aged.

Special Tasks

Special TasksCare programs may also undertake other tasks and Coordinators should be contacted to determine whether they have volunteers who may be able to assist with special tasks such as

  • interpreter services
  • sewing
  • writing letters
  • other.