Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the goal of the Beginning Experience® ministry?
A. Beginning Experience programs help those grieving a significant loss deal with the natural grief process and provide an opportunity for turning the pain of loss into an experience of positive growth. Rooted in the Catholic tradition, the ministry serves those of all faith backgrounds.
Q. Who should attend a program?
A. The Beginning Experience ministry offers a continuum of programs for persons whose marriages have ended due to death, divorce or permanent separation.
- Coping with Life Alone® is the initial program in this continuum. Those confronted with loss, who are in the initial period of attempting to adjust to life on their own, will find this program helpful. Those who are in the early stages of grief and loss, when adjusting to life alone is very difficult, will benefit from the supportive atmosphere.
- The Beginning Experience Weekend is intended for persons who are beyond the initial feelings of anger and despair, which often follow the loss of a loved one. Persons attending the weekend should be at the point of wanting a new beginning in life and ready to work to make that desire a reality. Once the application for the weekend is received, someone from the local program will help each applicant determine his or her readiness for the program.
- Additional programs—Continued Beginnings® and others—provide support for those who have attended a Beginning Experience weekend
Q. What happens during a Beginning Experience program?
A. Beginning Experience programs are presented by a team of people who have themselves suffered the loss of a loved one, and are willing to share their own experience to help others.
Team members lead participants through a program of presentations, personal private reflection, and
small group sharing. A sense of community develops in an atmosphere of care and concern that is a hallmark of each Beginning Experience program.
Q. What is the foundation of Beginning Experience programs?
A. The programs are structured around an invitational process which offers the opportunity to move through grief toward a new beginning in life.
Developed by respected professionals in grief psychology, ministry, education and organizational process, the programs are intended for peer presentation, and are both psychologically and spiritually sound.
The ministry has been honored by the North American Conference of Separated and Divorced Catholics and the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers. Ministry representatives have been invited to participate in the International Conference for the World Federation for Mental Health in Ireland, and to address the Australian government’s Year of the Family Congress.
To ensure the integrity of the copyrighted programs, the Beginning Experience International Ministry, Inc. periodically certifies the peer ministry teams worldwide to present the programs.
Q. What are the results of attending a program?
A. Those who have participated in Beginning Experience programs report:
- Increased emotional health and self respect
- New skills to deal with the pain of loss
- Healthier family relationships
- Renewed energy to be more effective parents, return to or beome more involved in their church, and improve the standard of living for themselves and their families.
Q. What is the cost?
A. The cost of each program varies with the location. Since this is a nonprofit organization, the costs are kept as low as possible, but fees must cover offering the program, program materials and, for the weekend program, the cost of meals and accommodations. All proceeds are invested in furthering the mission of the ministry.
Q. Can children or young adults attend a Beginning Experience program?
A. In certain locations, the Beginning Experience organization has developed special programs for children and youth who have lost a parent to death or whose parents have divorced or separated.
• The Children’s Beginning Experience uses crafts, activities, stories, talks and music to help children realize they aren’t alone in how they feel about the changes in their lives.
• The Young People’s Beginning Experience is for teenagers ages 12-18. The program uses presentations, reflection time, artistic expression, and small group sharing to help young people deal with their loss of parent and family.
• The Young Adult Beginning Experience is for those ages 18-25 and up. Presentations, reflection and journaling time, and small group sharing help these young adults address issues related to loss of family relationships.
Q. Where can I get more information?
A. Call 866-610-8877 (toll free in the U.S. or Canada), or +1-574-283-0279 or go to www.beginningexperience.org/locations.php to find a local affiliate team. Or use the contact us button from this website.