St. Oliver Plunketts


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about St. Oliver Plunketts

Bethany Bereavement Group

Greenlough Bethany Bereavement Support Group

`Building a Community of Consolation`

In 2010 nine parishioners were trained to set up a Bethany Bereavement support group in Greenlough.

What is Bethany Bereavement Support?

It is a parish based group ministry which aims to help those bereaved and grieving.

Greenlough Bethany support is offered by

  • Leading the Rosary on the first Sunday of each month at Greenlough Church,
  • Organising Cemetery Sunday 
  • Organising Remembrance Sunday
  • Attending Month’s Mind Masses with a Sympathy Card and candle on behalf of parishioners
  • Information from professionals – Bereavement Information Evenings
  • On a one-to-one basis in the home or by phone if requested
  • The availability of the drop-in centre at All Saints Parish Ballymena on the fourth Wednesday of each month.  

The distinctive features of Greenlough Bethany are:

  1. A Bethany Group member can be contacted through the parish office
  2. Two members from the group can visit the family in their home.
  3. The bereaved can be visited irrespective of religion, nationality or cause of death.
  4. The spiritual dimension of grief is recognised.

Where did Bethany originate?

It was Dr Elizabeth Kubler Ross who first documented the stages in the emotional responses to grief and loss. Her research for her book ‘On Death and Dying’ was done, mainly, in Columbian Presbyterian Medical Centre, New York. It was in that Centre that Fr Myles O’Reilly began working as a Chaplain in 1975. He was greatly impressed by the care given to the dying there. On his return to Ireland in 1982 he initiated retreats in Milltown Park entitled ‘Death – a Christian Response’. It was from those retreats that Bethany support groups were born.

The name Bethany was chosen because it was here that Jesus offered consolation to Mary and Martha on the death of their brother Lazarus.

In 2007 the first Bethany team was set up in the west of Ireland and Northern Ireland alone has 23 groups set up, with the  Derry Diocese currently having 2 groups.

As trained listeners we understand that grief has no time limit, it has no set pattern, and it has different forms of expression that need to be heard for what they are. Likewise we should never be ashamed of how we grieve, we should never feel alone or abandoned in our grief. There is the support of our Bethany Group, the support of friends and family, our community, priests of the parish, parish pastoral workers and the support of those in the medical profession.

We are keen to expand this ministry and would encourage anyone who feels they could do this rewarding work, to come forward. Telephone contact can be made via the parish office on 028 2582 1190 or by email at

Chairperson: Sheila Kearney; Secretary: TBC