Local health care ministers to speak at national chaplains’ conference

BRIGHTON -- Four local lay ecclesial ministers, all members of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC), will speak at the organization’s upcoming conference in Indianapolis April 5-8. This year’s theme is “Bringing Gifts that Differ in Splendid Varied Ways” and will gather several hundred members as well as guest theologians and bishops who will come together to celebrate and enhance health care ministry.

Elizabeth Couble and Judith LoGerfo will present a workshop entitled “‘And You Visited Me’... Using Our Gifts to Empower Others: The Art of Creating and Presenting Workshops for Pastoral Visitors.” They will offer conference participants tools to invite, inspire and support others as they create workshops to meet the needs of their own pastoral situations.

Both women have served in hospital ministry in the archdiocese and are instructors for the six week course currently being offered by the Office of Parish Outreach Ministries/Health Care Ministry for Pastoral Care to the Sick and Homebound.

These classes have prepared hundreds of visitors to hospitals, nursing homes and those at home through listening skills, theological reflection, and preparation for praying with others. The course can also be adapted for use in seminaries and adult faith formation programs.

Cheryl Amrich, staff chaplain at Caritas St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, will present “Compassion Fatigue: Supporting Professional Caregivers” which will aim to help participants to learn to define and assess compassion fatigue, develop strategies for their health care setting and articulate the role that spiritual care plays in offering support around this important issue.

Georgia Gojmerac-Leiner, coordinator of Catholic Pastoral Services at Emerson Hospital, will present “Zen Practice, Christian Practice.” Workshop participants will engage in looking at spirituality and self-care, providing opportunities for both listening and adaptation into practice while focusing on writings of Christian mystics.

The NACC advocates for the profession of spiritual care and, according to their mission statement, “educates, certifies, and supports chaplains, clinical pastoral educators, and all members who continue the healing ministry of Jesus in the name of the Church.”