Over 120 Stephen Ministers attended the Annual VITALity Mass of Recognition and Recollection for Stephen Ministry from throughout the diocese, held on Saturday, February 29th at the Church of the Holy Family in Sewell. The Mass was celebrated at the parish 4:30 Saturday Vigil Mass and present was a large number of the parishioners who regularly attend that Mass and are familiar with the wonderful work of Stephen Ministry as it was first introduced to the diocese at Holy Family over nine years ago. Many in attendance were also those who have received care from these dedicated individuals. The Mass was celebrated by the parish pastor, Father John Picinic and concelebrated by Father Sanjai Devis,VC, (Director of Stephen Ministry of the Diocese of Camden), Father Naveen Borlakunta, VC, and Father David Grover ( Pastor of the parish of St. Clare of Assisi). The homilist was Deacon Jerry Jablonowski, Executive director of VITALity Catholic Healthcare Services.
The Mass was followed by a gathering in fellowship, food and prayer at the parish Acquin Center where Christine Huber, a care receiver, spoke of her trials in life and how her Stephen Minister became like a sister to her and helped her to see light in the darkness that so much overwhelmed her.
Stephen Ministry is a supported through VITALity Catholic Healthcare Services. It is an international ministerial effort that provides intensive training to dedicated individuals who wish to assist others through times of devastating loss in their lives. Be that through the death of a loved one, divorce, a serious medical condition, family struggles with drug addiction, or mental illness, or the loss of a job. Anytime that the life of an individual is turned upside down and they face sorrow and pain, Stephen Ministers are there as faithful companions to be confidential, supportive listeners. Their training allows them to fully comprehend their limits, understand the human condition of loss, and abide by confidentiality and boundaries within their relationship with their care receiver.
The Diocese of Camden now has 16 parishes with Stephen Ministry. For more information, you can call the VITALity office of Stephen Ministry and speak with Father Sanjai Devis, at (856)583-6130 or email him at Sanjai.firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Deacon Jerry Jablonowski, Executive Director
VITALity Catholic Healthcare Services