Grief, Loss, and the Creative Arts

Program Overview

A program for professional development and ministerial practice

Gravel walking path along a fenced pasture with the Gap of Dunloe from Killarney, Ireland in the distance

Photo by Anne Marie S. Mahoney: The Gap of Dunloe from Killarney, Ireland “Nothing can make up for the absence of someone whom we love, … (T)he gap as long as it remains unfilled, preserves the bonds between us.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The creative arts can offer grievers a safe outlet for managing their grief that is both readily accessible and easily saved. A favorite song, photo, movie or story can provide comfort and healing. Adding Scripture and the virtue of hope can move grievers from sorrow and loss to new hope filled chapters for their lives. These sessions are designed to offer insights on hosting a bereavement program that uses the arts to explore grief and loss. Throughout the sessions we will review fifteen truths about grief. Over the four sessions we will explore the use of stories, poetry, music, television and movie clips, art, movement, and timely written media as vehicles for healing. In addition to the clips, quotes, visuals and music presented, participants will be invited to share their own favorite clips, quotes, visuals and music with the group if they are comfortable doing so. Each session will reserve time for discussion and reflection. We will also review suggested hands-on activities that might be useful with a bereavement group. 

Topics & Materials


  1. Exploring Our Stories
  2. Look, Listen, and Maybe Dance
  3. Holding On and Letting Go
  4. Sharing Memories


Recommended Materials:

Participants are encouraged (though not required) to purchase a copy of A New Parish Guide to Grief Ministry: Creative Ways to Implement a Program of Healing and Growth, available from Twenty-Third Publications.



Tuesdays: Feb. 20 | Feb. 27 | Mar. 26 | Apr. 23 | May 28


7:00-9:00 p.m. ET




$200 per semester


Anne Marie S. Mahoney

Anne Marie S. Mahoney holds a MA in Pastoral Ministry and a Post-MA Certificate in Spiritual Formation from Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. Anne Marie has worked as a Director of Religious Education in parishes overseeing programs for kindergarten through adult formation, RCIA and Baptism preparation. She particularly enjoyed creating high school retreats and sacrament programs for adults utilizing arts to express her themes. Following the clustered untimely deaths of multiple family members she attended classes and workshops in grief, loss, trauma and death at both the STM and the National Center for Death Education. Anne Marie created an eight-session program that used the arts as a vehicle to cope with grief and loss. A New Parish Guide to Grief Ministry: Creative Ways to Implement a Program of Healing and Growth was recently published by Twenty-Third Publications. Anne Marie has presented the program, workshops, and bereavement support in parishes, Pope Saint John XXIII Seminary, and a local Senior Center.