Pastoral Care volunteers complete training
By Christina Leslie | Correspondent
A cadre of 22 faith-filled volunteers celebrated the completion of the diocesan pastoral care training program April 13 with a ceremony in the Chancery, Lawrenceville. Deanna Sass, director of the diocesan Department of Pastoral Care, gave each student a small gift and a letter of completion to commemorate the valuable additions to their ministerial toolboxes.
The group had attended more than 30 hours of training over a six-month period, examining topics such as theology, suffering and the healing mission of Jesus; love of God, neighbor and self; rituals for Holy Communion and pastoral care of the sick and dying for laypersons, bereavement and other forms of pastoral ministry.
Class members hailed from parishes around the Diocese where they fulfill ministries to the bereaved, jailed and imprisoned, separated or divorced, and the diaconate. Each was pleased to add to their arsenal of knowledge from the workshops and enrichment of service to their parish families.
Kathy McBurnie, a pastoral associate in St. Catharine Parish, Holmdel, reflected that the classes “will enhance our bereavement ministry in St. Catharine’s. This will be helpful to train people to work with those who have suffered a loss.” She added, “All the information was valuable. The classes were so well taught and the instructors were wonderful. It was amazing. I will keep the information and probably will use it in the future as well.”
John and Caroline White are active members of St. Monica Parish, Jackson. The husband and wife both serve on the pastoral council and as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion; in addition, Caroline teaches religious education to special needs children, while John is on the building committee and performs maintenance at the parish.
“We at St. Monica are working hard to build everything, all the ministries,” Caroline said. “We want to see where we can best serve, and the classes helped.”
John White focused on the topic of bereavement and his future ministry as a deacon for the Diocese of Trenton.
“I lost a nephew and tried to comfort my sister,” he recalled sadly. “I thought, since I had applied for the diaconate, I’d better see if I could do it better.”