By Mary Stadnyk | Associate Editor
As the Diocese’s new associate director of Parish Counseling Services, Eileen Ziesmer said it is highly rewarding to be able to connect people in parishes of the Diocese with counseling services that have a strong Catholic base.
“Parish Counseling Services is a wonderful resource that can assist families and individuals with the challenges of life they are facing and can help them connect their life issues with their faith,” she said. “It gives me happiness to help meet a need that’s on a parish level.”
Ziesmer brings to the Parish Counseling Services position a comprehensive background, having earned a bachelor of arts degree from Rutgers University, New Brunswick; a master of social work from Rutgers University School of Social Work, and a master of theology degree from Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University, South Orange. She also has more than 28 years in the social work field and experience working in parishes as a director of religious education and as a pastoral associate.
Ziesmer also serves as pastoral associate in St. Denis Parish, Manasquan, where her responsibilities include designing and presenting adult and intergenerational faith programs, retreats and social outreach programs.
She works with various ministries including recovery and addiction, caregiver support and bereavement and modern family life issues. She also facilitates group and individual counseling for adults and families in various parish and community settings with a specialization in family, parenting, caregiving, grief, trauma and end-of-life issues. In addition, Ziesmer also works with the pastor, ecumenical council and parish leaders in developing projects and large events within the greater Manasquan community.
Ziesmer also finished working as a Seton Hall University Accelerated Accelerated Program Teacher in Mater Dei Prep, Middletown, where she developed the curriculum and provided the Seton Hall University Accelerated Class: World Religions as well as Thanatology and other classes of theology, social justice and spirituality to upperclassmen.
Ziesmer’s previous work experience has included serving as director of catechesis for children and adults in Our Lady of Perpetual Help-St. Agnes Parish, Atlantic Highlands; as a traumatic brain injury advocate for Olive Branch, in Monmouth County; an administrative assistant and an assistant of catechesis in St. Rose Parish, Belmar; social worker in Life Choice Hospice, Toms River; a resident services coordinator in Seabrook Village, Tinton Falls; community liaison and social worker in Care Alternatives Hospice, Cranford, and director of social work and spiritual support in hospices and of adult day care facilities.
A resident of Wall, Ziesmer and her husband, Werner, are the parents of one adult daughter, Catherine.