‘Our Journey of Hope’ introduced into the diocese

‘Our Journey of Hope’ introduced into the diocese

Dr. Imran Shariff of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia addresses the Leadership Training program participants of “Our Journey of Hope” at the Christ the Redeemer parish center in Atco on May 19.

On Saturday, May 19, VITALity Catholic Healthcare Services sponsored the first Leadership Training certification program for “Our Journey of Hope” — which is an educational and support outreach program at Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

Led by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia, pastoral care director, Rev. Wendell Scanterbury, along with members of the medical staff, the Leadership Training program focused on becoming more familiar with the disease of cancer and gaining insights into the specific issues and struggles faced by cancer patients as they are diagnosed and follow through with treatment and into recovery.

Participants were also provided the tools on how to develop the ministry at their parish and gain access to resources needed to support and assist cancer patients in their congregations. Over 50 people attended, representing 20 parishes throughout the diocese. Many in attendance were parish nurses and Stephen ministers, who see this as a natural extension of their own training and skills to apply into this ministry.

We are pleased that the Cancer Treatment Centers of America has made this program available to the parishes in South Jersey and provided the training this day for these parish leaders to learn and become trainers themselves as they return to their parishes and recruit and train team members for this new valuable parish ministry.

The leadership training session was hosted by Christ the Redeemer Parish, Atco, which provided the facilities for the program. Christ the Redeemer Parish has the already established Saint Peregrine Ministry, which is based on Our Journey of Hope.

The needs of cancer patients are great. In addition to the physical struggles through surgery, chemo and/or radiation treatments, they encounter many difficulties in managing the everyday flow of family life. Our Journey of Hope parish volunteers are available to assist them with the practical chores in need of doing for life to go on. In addition, these trained volunteers are able to add the spiritual dimension of care and assistance, as they serve as the link between the patient and the parish — helping them to maintain their connection to parish life and the sacraments. They are the embodiment of compassion and love in their service to their neighbor in need. Given this great show of support and enthusiasm for this type of service, we are prayerfully optimistic in that we will see this emerge as the newest parish ministry throughout our diocese.

If you are interested in being a part of “Our Journey of Hope,” contact Anne Pirillo of VITALity at 856-583-6121 and she will connect you with the Leadership Team of the parishes committed to beginning this great work in the Camden Diocese.

Deacon Jerry Jablonowski is executive director, VITALity Catholic Healthcare Services, Diocese of Camden.

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