Last week, April 10-12th, the California Catholic Conference Office of Restorative Justice in collaboration with Suzanne Nehaus and Cheryl Ward-Kaiser held a Bereavement Ministry "Train-the-Trainer" Training at Villa Maria del Mar in Santa Cruz, CA.
We had seven different dioceses represented throughout the entire state of California. Participants included but were not limited to deacons, trauma support volunteers, bereavement ministers, church leaders, and chaplains. Everyone enjoyed the training and saw it as very powerful, effective, and neccesary. All were left passionate to begin or continue the work in bereavement ministry.
Participants were asked to evaluate anonymously the training and all stated being touched by the stories and sorrows shared. Most agree that this training is "essential for every parish, every wellness center, [and] every healing ministry that will come in contact with [the] aftermath of ever increasing violence in America." One participant stated that despite the experience being "hard at times", they were grateful "for the inspiration and renewed energy it has given [them] to widen the circle of compassionate listening in [their] diocese."
The participants are eager to expand this training to others; there is an interest in having it be offered as a course at Santa Clara University. "The content touches the deepest level of your heart and soul" said one participant in analyzing the overall training. They are hoping to remain in communication with each other to help maintain support and encouragement amongst eachother especially through prayer.
There were a number of materials and resources provided for our trainees and they are now available for download on our website >>
The CCC Office of Restorative Justice would like to thank the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood for sponsoring this training. You can check out their mission and ministries here.