From Staff Reports
The 2018-2019 Pastoral Care Training Program, which is designed primarily to train volunteers who visit the sick on behalf of their parish communities, inaugurated its 10th year and new series of weekend workshops Nov. 17 with some 30 participants in attendance.
“There are many other things they could be doing on these six Saturdays, yet they choose to grow in their faith, learn more about the ministries of the Church and attain the skills with which to provide more competent and compassionate service to those who are suffering throughout our Diocese,” said Deanna Sass, director of the diocesan Department of Pastoral Care.
The gathering, held in St. Veronica School, Howell, featured a presentation on The Theology of Suffering, which was taught by Father Cesar Rubiano, pastor of Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Trenton, a certified chaplain who has experience in ministering in hospitals and prisons. The Spirituality for Ministry presentation was taught by Dr. Zeni Fox, professor emerita of Seton Hall University and Immaculate Conception Seminary, South Orange.
The participants hail from all corners of the Diocese and consist of deacons, laywomen and men and religious with years of experience in pastoral ministry “who desire to learn more and be more for the folks they serve,” Sass said.
The 2018-2019 curriculum consists of 12 workshops over the course of six Saturdays from November to April. The sessions, sponsored by the Department of Pastoral Care, are geared for those serving in ministries such as bereavement, jail and prison, separated and divorced, multicultural and to the dying.
The National Association of Catholic Chaplains had named the training program one of the best practices in the country, and an article on the training program was recently published in the NACC newsletter, “Vision.”
The next round of workshops is scheduled for Dec. 15 in St. Veronica School. The morning session’s topic will be “Pastoral Visits: The Nuts and Bolts of the Pastoral Encounter” with presenters Deacon Mike and Sandy Mullarkey. Deacon Mullarkey is a former police officer and a board certified Catholic Chaplain. Sandy Mullarkey is a registered nurse, commissioned lay ecclesial minister and pastoral associate in St. Anselm Parish, Wayside. The afternoon session will focus on “Pastoral Care: Rituals for Laypersons: Rites for Holy Communion and the Pastoral Care of the Sick and Dying” with presenter Marge McGinley, former pastoral administrator in Sacred Heart Parish, Mount Holly, who currently serves as staff chaplain in Virtua Memorial Hospital in Mount Holly.
Sass noted that her office continues to receive registration forms, namely for the bereavement training, which has been incorporated into the totality of the Pastoral Care Training Program. The bereavement sessions will be held in January, February and March.
To learn more about the program or to register, visit TrentonMonitor.com or dioceseoftrenton.org/pastoral-care or call Sass at 609-403-7157.