Christ The Savior
Orthodox Christian Church—Chicago, IL
Diocese of the Midwest, Orthodox Church in America
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Dec 11—Grupo Consuelo's Christmas party

For the 2nd year in a row, Christ the Savior supported Grupo Consuelo's Christmas party. Grupo Consuelo was founded in 2010 by Eddie and Kathryn Bocanegra. Grupo Consuelo is a support group for parents who have lost children to violence and their surviving siblings. Over the course of the past 5 years over 50 families have participated in Grupo Consuelo. The group regularly meets in Fridays for two hours to provide therapeutic support for parents and their surviving children.

Holidays are some of the most difficult times for families of homicide victims. All of the families struggle with complex grief and have limited support networks. Grupo Consuelo has become a secondary family for many individuals and a safe, support space to process the trauma of losing a child to violence.

Each Christmas we organize a special party for the families. The evening begins with a candelighting ceremony commemorating their deceased children. Some of the parents share reflective writings or poetry. Following the readings and a prayer the families break bread and share dinner. For the past two years Christ the Savior has generously provided gifts for parents and their children. For some families this is the only Christmas celebration they participate in. The gifts are age appropriate and opened at the conclusion of the party.

The families are deeply grateful for the thoughtfulness and effort behind the party. At the conclusion of the gathering this year one mother (whose son was murdered in September) shared that she would not have been able to celebrate Christmas on her own this year. The pain of her recent loss brought incredible emotional and financial stress to her family. Thanks to the support of Christ the Savior, Grupo Consuelo was able to provide her entire family with gifts.

This is a special ministry supporting families who are often forgotten about following a traumatic incident of violence. The real struggle with grieving begins after the funeral ends and continues for decades to come.

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