World Day of the Sick, February 11
Each year, on February 11th (the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes), the Church commemorates “World Day of the Sick” with all Catholics worldwide. Started by Pope John Paul II in 1992, World Day of the Sick is dedicated to all who are suffering in the world. The three-fold purpose of World Day of the Sick includes calling the Church to remember to care for those who are seriously ill so they will not be forgotten or alone in their suffering; serving as a platform to remind all believers that, through faith in Christ, all suffering has meaning and is redemptive, and, honoring all who care for the sick, especially medical and healthcare professionals.
In the Office of Pastoral Care we attend to all three through raising awareness of the needs of the sick, facilitating the bishop’s pastoral visits to hospitals, writing articles and sharing papal statements on suffering. We also host a Mass with Blessing of Hands for Healthcare Providers, followed by an Appreciation Dinner.
Pastoral Presence Blog
Feb. 2 | A Prayer for Health Care Givers
Advance Directives Day, April 16
Be proactive and join in the annual Advance Directives Day on April 16
Catholics from throughout the Diocese of Trenton join with other national, state and community organizations in a massive effort to highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-making by participating in the annual National Healthcare Decisions Day.
Held every April 16, is a nationwide program committed to ensuring that all adults with decision-making capacity have the information and opportunity to communicate and document their healthcare decisions. This includes completing a living will and designating a person to hold their health care power of attorney.
Your healthcare and end-of-life care decisions matter, especially to you! If you want to be sure that your preferences for end-of-life decisions will be honored, now is the time to complete a New Jersey State Catholic Advanced Directive. Your healthcare providers, family members and/or friends won’t know what your wishes are, unless you put them in writing. You can download a version of the New Jersey Proxy and Advanced Directives form, approved by the New Jersey Catholic Bishops, on our website for free. They are simple to complete, cost nothing, do not require a notary public, and can be changed at any time by simply completing a new form with a more recent date.
- Advanced Directives forms: English | Spanish
- Additional information regarding advanced directives can be found on the USCCB website.
Annual Pastoral Care Retreat
Each year the Office of Pastoral Care hosts a “day away” for those who offer care for the sick all year long. Always held on the ocean at San Alfonso Retreat House in Long Branch, the themes pertain to renewal and reinvigorating those who give of themselves so generously, and who might not otherwise take time for themselves. Chaplains, nurses, priests, physicians, family caregivers, parish volunteers, deacons, religious all come together for a day of prayer, reflection and inspiration from outstanding retreat leaders at the beautiful Jersey Shore.
Faith Community Nursing
Faith Community Nursing (also known as Parish Nursing) is rooted in the mission of the Church to build the Kingdom of God by serving those in need, and is a response to the call to share in Christ’s healing mission through various spiritual and healthcare ministries. Parish Nurses believe that God desires fullness of life for his people, and it is their blessed task to journey with the parishioners in their community toward wholeness of body, mind and spirit. The goal of the diocesan Office of Pastoral Care in its role as coordinator of the ministry of parish nursing is to invite, invigorate, inform and inspire healthcare professionals, including nurses, so that they can respond even more compassionately to the multi-faceted needs of parishioners at various stages of the life journey.
Lourdes Medical Center, Willingboro
For more information please contact Constance Giampaolo at 609-835-2900 ext. 4203.
For more information please contact Wendy Walnock at email@example.com or 732-739-4075.
St. Catharine Spring Lake
For information about St. Catharine’s Parish Nursing Ministry and schedule of meetings please contact: Sr. Margaret Tierney at 732-449-5765, x-124 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Parish Nurse Certification – 2016
*this certification has been cancelled for 2015 and will be
offered in April of 2016.
Information will be posted in February 2016.
Thank you for your patience.
Questions? Contact Mary Jo Abbondanza, Coordinator of Faith Based Community Nursing, St. Francis Medical Center, 609-599-5282
“Pastoral Presence” is a newsletter of special interest to those who provide spiritual, pastoral or sacramental care to the sick in the Diocese of Trenton. It covers a variety of issues pertaining to family, professional or volunteer caregivers including: upcoming events, book reviews, helpful tips for pastoral visitors, the latest resources, continuing education opportunities, spiritual formation opportunities, what’s new in bioethics, volunteer and employment opportunities in pastoral care, and more.
Pastoral Care Week
Every year during the last week of October, there is an international and multi-faith show of gratitude toward people who offer pastoral or spiritual care for the sick. Pastoral Care Week in the Diocese of Trenton, is when we, in the Office of Pastoral Care, disseminate a great deal of information about the ministry of care for the sick, to raise awareness, and to invite new persons to consider serving in the ministry. We encourage folks to write “thank you” notes to chaplains or parish visitors who made a difference when they or a loved one was ill. We suggest prayers and prayer services to be used by all individuals and parishes during Pastoral Care Week, and we host a “Chaplain’s Appreciation Luncheon” inviting hospital chaplains of all faiths to a diocesan “Thank You! Luncheon.”
Theological Reflection Groups
Those who have gone through the Certificate Program in Pastoral Care (even those who may not have earned the certificate of completion) are invited to attend these meetings at which peers in the ministry of care of the sick come together to share experiences in a prayerful setting and to reflect upon their ministry together. In this non-judgmental setting, individuals allow God to lead them into deeper relationship with Him, and to grow in their effectiveness as pastoral visitors. If we fail to reflect on our pastoral visits we miss the chance to grow in faith and in competence, and can become burdened by the heaviness of journeying with the suffering. Meetings are held in both the “East” and the “West” ends of the diocese.
Family Caregivers Support
November is National Caregivers Month and that is when the Office of Pastoral Care disseminates many resources to parishes to help them support family caregivers within their communities. While we offer consultation to individual caregivers and parishes all throughout the year, in November we call extra attention to the selfless role of the family caregiver and try to promote and facilitate the establishment of parish ministries of outreach to them.
Annual Pastoral Care Conference
Those who minister to the sick on a regular basis come together each spring for an educational conference on a topic of interest to spiritual caregivers. Held at various locations throughout the diocese, topics previously covered include: “The Intersection of Medical and Spiritual Care: Partners in Healing,” “Self-Care: Helping Caregivers Avoid Burnout and Compassion Fatigue,” “Journeying with the Suffering: Psychological and Pastoral Wisdom,” and “End of Life Care for Persons with Dementia, Alzheimer’s or Developmental Disabilities: A Catholic Perspective.”
Those who face chronic, terminal or debilitating illness on a daily basis are often unable to attend traditional retreats, but would benefit greatly from an experience of spiritual nourishment. With this in mind, Gennesaret Retreats began in the Diocese of Trenton 17 years ago under the direction of Hilare and Gordon Reinold, who still lead a dedicated team of volunteers.
Twice a year, in October and in May, they gather a team of medical and nursing volunteers, in a fully accessible setting, with a priest and spiritual leadership team, to host a week-end spiritual retreat which includes the Sacraments of Eucharist, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, as well as fellowship with peers, spiritual talks, group and individual exercises and opportunities for individual spiritual direction. The retreats run on private donations, and sponsorship by the Office of Pastoral Care, at no cost to the attendees.
Pastoral Care Advisory Board
With a small staff, the Office of Pastoral Care benefits greatly from the advisory and hands-on support of a group of pastoral care consultants who meet at the Pastoral Center several times a year, and, additionally, in small working groups, as needed. Their contribution makes meeting the extensive agenda of the Office of Pastoral Care possible. Comprised of chaplains, faith community nurses, deacons, pastoral counselors, psychologists, CPPC graduates, parish volunteers, diocesan office directors, healthcare institution administrators, and others, this dedicated group freely gives of their valuable time to further the many initiatives of the Office of Pastoral Care.