The following comes from an October 4 Catholic San Francisco article by Christina Gray:

The Archdiocese of San Francisco is offering half-day support groups this fall for anyone who has been affected by the loss of a child, sibling, parent, friend, school or work companion who has died by suicide.

Mercy Sister Toni Lynn Gallagher, bereavement coordinator for the archdiocese, and Christine Folan, a lay associate of the Sisters of Mercy, will present a Saturday morning of “prayer, reflection, understanding and hope” at three host churches in San Carlos, Tiburon and Pacifica.

Support groups will be held on Oct. 22 at St. Charles Church in San Carlos; Oct. 29 at Church of the Good Shepherd in Pacifica; and Nov. 5 at St. Hilary Church in Tiburon. All three run from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and are free of charge.

While the church has welcomed those affected by suicide, it is still a “private event” for those involved, said Sister Toni. Language and old perceptions often hinder people from comforting those who have lost a loved one who has “died by suicide.”

Using the language “died by suicide” invites a sacred story to be told about what may have caused a person’s death and calls others to console and comfort with compassion and love and without judgment, she said.

“Many still believe that there is no salvation for this troubled person,” Sister Toni said. The perception is not the reality, she said.