Issue #206 – September 14, 2015
(Items marked with a * are new or updated items)
1. Executive Director’s Reflection*
2. Next Monday, September 21, is the deadline to cast your vote for NACC member, Tim Serban, for NACC Board of *
3. Tomorrow, September 15th, is the Initial Certification Application Deadline*
4. Can you write about spiritual wellness for Vision?*
5. Vision seeks book review coordinator*
6. Please contribute to the NACC 2015 50th Anniversary Annual Member Campaign!
7. New NACC member pins are being sent to members*
NACC – 50 YEARS OF CONTINUING THE HEALING MINISTRY
2016 NATIONAL CONFERENCE APRIL 22-25, 2016
10. Mark your calendar for April 22-25, 2016, for the NACC 2016 National Conference!
11. American Red Cross Disaster Spiritual Care Provider Orientation (Thursday, April 21, 2016)*
12. Thank you to all those who submitted workshop proposals!*
13. What do you know about NACC 2016 Conference plenary speaker George Fitchett?*
CHAPLAINCY NEWS, EDUCATION, PROFESSIONAL SUPPORTS
14. A reminder: visit the research-literacy website, Transforming Chaplaincy Website*
15. Always looking for good summation of research on chaplaincy*
16. Does your chaplaincy ministry involve the developmentally disabled?*
17. Get your merchandise today for Pastoral Care Week, October 25-31!*
18. NACC Local Gatherings*
19. NACC 2015 Webinars*
20. Healing Tree: a request for prayers*
Executive Director’s Reflection*
As you might well know by now, Journey Films is releasing its new two-hour documentary on chaplains. At our 2015 Conference in Arlington, VA, the Journey Films founder and award-winning filmmaker, Martin Doblmeier, joined us to share a trailer of this documentary, and it was very well received. It will go on sale October 1st, and be aired on PBS in November. We are grateful to Martin and Journey Films for their excellent work.
On the Journey chaplain website page it describes chaplains as “men and women who represent their own particular faith tradition but are trained to be comfort and support to everyone–religious or not.” It goes on to explain that “chaplains today are on the front lines–often in the midst of life and death situations–where questions are the deepest and the need for spiritual and pastoral care the greatest.”
The documentary aims to share with the world the identity and life of chaplains. So what is the chaplain’s identity? It is most intriguing where the documentary shifts from the chaplain describing who he or she is and what they do to the person experiencing that chaplain and how that person describes who a chaplain is, and how he or she is experienced.
I believe the Journey Films documentary on chaplains will serve a very worthwhile purpose as viewers not familiar with the chaplain world will marvel at and muse about this profession. Hopefully some will even hear in those sharing their profession their own personal call to this ministry.
Interestingly, in yesterday’s Gospel of Mark 8, we read about the exchange Jesus has with his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Christ.” So, here we have Jesus asking those closest to him what they heard others saying of him and how they have experienced him. When he heard the disciples’ report on what others thought, he asked them directly. While Peter says Jesus is the Christ, we learn a few verses later that Peter might have used the right word, but Peter did not have a clue about how Jesus understood that term as Jesus related that suffering and death was part of that profile, not dominance and subjugation of Israel’s enemies. Of course, some respectable biblical commentators and theologians would reference this exchange as an indication of Jesus’ growing awareness of who He was and what His mission will be.
If one of us had been one of those being interviewed for the Journey documentary, how would we have talked about our identity and ministry? How do we explain what we do, and who we are in our ministry?
I wonder whether any part of our response might be about who God is, and how God is present in our ministry? I wonder if anything I would say would be formulated in the words of yesterday’s responsorial psalm 116:
I love the LORD because he has heard my voice in supplication,
Because he has inclined his ear to me the day I called.
The cords of death encompassed me; the snares of the netherworld seized upon me;
I fell into distress and sorrow, and I called upon the name of the LORD, “O LORD, save my life!”
Gracious is the LORD and just; yes, our God is merciful.
The LORD keeps the little ones; I was brought low, and he saved me.
For he has freed my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
I shall walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
That’s been one of the beautiful benefits of reading our NACC members’ reflections on ministry as each of them touches on something remarkable that God is doing in those moments. Yes, this chaplaincy is a profession, and we have our job descriptions, and we appropriately maintain our productivity grids, as well as complete our assessment charts and care plans to be accountable to, while being responsible and caring for, those we serve. Yet, most profoundly we believe most deeply in God’s presence and purpose. God’s redeeming grace and goodness are at play. Yes, we are story catchers, members of interdisciplinary teams, and spiritual care clinicians. Yet, at our deepest level of faith, hope, love we are witnesses to God’s healing love and mystery at work. I wonder whether in a way in and through our ministry if Jesus is living out the dialogue He had with Peter, purifying our understanding of who He is and wants to be for us? I wonder how our ministry is in a very real way the arena of God’s saving work in us as well! I wonder if I prayed Psalm 116 at the end of each day whether incidents of that day would come to mind to help me see how “he has freed my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling,” and deepen my hope and resolve that “I shall walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” I wonder… Do you?
David Lichter, D.Min.
Next Monday, September 21, is the deadline to cast your vote for NACC member, Tim Serban, for NACC Board of *
Next Monday, September 21, 2015, it the deadline for voting in this year’s NACC Board election. Please vote for the open seat on our National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC) Board of Directors.
The Board of Directors is pleased to present to you Tim Serban as the candidate for the one open seat. While there is only one candidate for this position, it might seem your vote does not matter. However, your vote is a vital sign of your endorsement of this process and this individual. This elected member will serve a three-year term on the Board of Directors beginning January 1, 2016. Please go to www.nacc.org/aboutnacc/board_election to read about Tim Serban’s background.
We will be inviting members to vote via email. Those NACC members who do not have email addresses, will be sent a letter about voting eligibility, timeline and process.
Members in the following categories are eligible to vote: Board Certified Chaplain, Certified CPE Supervisor/Associate Supervisor, Certified CPE Supervisory Candidate, Missionary, Retired, and Emeritus. Members in the following categories are not eligible to vote: Student, Associate, Ministry Volunteer, Inactive Board Certified Members.
The voting time period will be three weeks, from Tuesday, September 1, 2015, through Monday, September 21, 2015.
Tomorrow, September 15th, is the Initial Certification Application Deadline*
Tomorrow, September 15th, is the fall certification application deadline. All materials must be postmarked no later than tomorrow, September 15, 2015, for consideration for a May 2016 certification interview. For questions regarding the application process, please contact Ramona Zeb at [email protected] or at (414)483-4898 ext. 304. Best wishes to all those who are working to prepare their materials!
Can you write about spiritual wellness for Vision?*
As the emphasis of healthcare shifts toward wellness, spiritual care providers may need to think about the contributions they can make. To that end, the November-December issue of Vision will have a theme of spiritual wellness and prevention, both for chaplains themselves and the patients they serve. How can chaplains take care of their own needs? How do you proactively help the people you encounter stay centered? What kind of activities and interventions can fit into the routine of a busy day? If you have ideas around this topic, please send a note to Vision editor David Lewellen, [email protected]. The maximum length is about 1,000 words; deadline is Oct. 5.
Vision seeks book review coordinator*
Vision has run fewer book reviews in recent years, in part because we no longer receive unsolicited copies from publishers due to changes in the industry. But we know that our members would like to know about new and worthwhile books that relate to their work. We are hoping that a member who enjoys new books will volunteer to be our point person for reviews. The task would involve scanning several publishers’ catalogs for newly released books that might be worth space in Vision (10 or 12 per year); requesting a review copy from the publisher; and working with the Vision editor to identify and assign reviewers. Anyone who would like to learn more is encouraged to send a note to Vision editor David Lewellen, [email protected].
Please contribute to the NACC 2015 50th Anniversary Annual Member Campaign!
This past week we sent out reminder letters to those who had not yet been able to give to this year’s 2015 50th Anniversary Annual Member Campaign! If you have not yet contributed, please do. You can give either by sending your gift in the donation envelope provided to you, or you can go right now to our NACC website and contribute online at https://nationalcatholicwiassoc.wliinc32.com/forms/donation
If you are not an NACC member (more than 1,600 non-NACC members subscribe to NACC Now), we invite and encourage you to contribute to this special 50th Anniversary Campaign, by going to: https://nationalcatholicwiassoc.wliinc32.com/forms/donation. Your contribution helps us provide what we do, including this NACC Now and all NACC resources. Thank you in advance for your commitment and generosity!
New NACC member pins are being sent to members*
If you have renewed your NACC membership during the months of January-September 2015, you should have received the new NACC member pin, or you will be receiving it soon. Many of you who have received it notified us and said that you enjoy the new look! As you renew your membership in the coming months of 2015, you will be sent the new pin. All new full members will receive the new pin. May the pin remind us of continuing the healing ministry of Jesus in the name of the Church.
NACC – 50 YEARS OF CONTINUING THE HEALING MINISTRY
A Moment in NACC History: October 1985 NACC holds the first Pastoral Care Week*
In 1983 the NACC passed a resolution to establish Pastoral Care Week, and the first Pastoral Care Week was marked in 1985 – now marking its 30th year for NACC. A year later, 1986, COMISS (at the time Congress on Ministries in Specialized Settings, then Coalition on Ministries in Specialized Settings, and now known as COMISS Network: The Network on Ministries in Specialized Settings www.comissnetwork.org) at their first annual meeting recommended establishing a committee to implement Pastoral Care Week nationally, which was celebrated the following year, October 25-31, 1987. For more background on NACC’s role in the origins of Pastoral Care Week, go to: www.pastoralcareweek.org/origins.html.
Reflecting on the ministry: A Bedside Conversion by Anne Wasserstrom*
Some years ago, I worked as a chaplain in an oncology unit at a medical center in upstate New York. Before starting my rounds, I often visited our interfaith chapel to ask God’s help in bringing his presence to the patients that I would encounter that evening.
One night, I entered a room with two patients, Bob and Antonio. Bob was the closest to the door, and I noted that the curtain separating him from Antonio was fully drawn. Bob was a handsome man who looked younger than his 70 years. He was sitting straight up in bed with his arms tightly drawn across his chest. His brown eyes, however, were red as though he had been crying.
I smiled, introduced myself, and asked how he was feeling. “Get out!” he shouted. “I don’t need a chaplain, or whatever you call yourself.” He’d been told on Saturday that his cancer was inoperable, he said, and he only had weeks to live. Before I could say anything, Bob raised his fist at me and repeated, “Get out!”
“OK,” I said quietly. But as a relatively new chaplain, I was feeling very helpless and sad too. I had never before encountered this level of anger in a patient. I desperately wanted to respond to this lonely, hurting man, but I knew my presence would only continue to agitate and further upset him.
With that, I left Bob’s bedside and went to Antonio. He was a very old Hispanic man, and with his white curly hair and ruddy complexion, he reminded me of Santa Claus. He enthusiastically told me of his family who visited often – children, grandchildren and now even a great-grandson named Tonio after him. Antonio was serene and peaceful, and we had a joyful visit.
I had visited Antonio twice before, and knew that he would ask for communion. I always carried a few hosts with me for those Catholic patients who wished to receive the sacrament. After communion, Antonio always wanted to say those “old-fashioned” prayers, and since I was of a certain age, I knew them too.
As we prayed, we suddenly heard loud sobs coming from Bob. I said “Excuse me” to Antonio and rushed to Bob’s bedside. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “What are you feeling? Should I get a nurse?”
Bob shook his head and continued to cry, but now more softly. I held his hand and waited. Finally, he said that when he heard those prayers, he started to think of his mother. “She came from Ireland and was very devout,” Bob said. “She went to Mass every day and said the rosary. She was so proud of me the day the sister chose me to be an altar boy.” He took a deep breath. “She died when I was 14, and after her funeral I never set foot in a church again. I worked overseas and did bad things. I made a mess of my life. And now it’s too late.” He stopped for a minute. “I have no wife, no children – only money, and what good is that now?”
I wondered if I was about to witness a miracle of reconciliation. “God has already forgiven your mess,” I said. “God loves you so much. And I know right now your mother is as proud of you as she was that day.”
Bob looked emotionally spent and was very quiet. He apologized for his rudeness towards me, and to my astonishment, asked if I would give him communion. Yes, of course I gave him communion. Both of us had tears in our eyes, for it had been a long journey home. I did a joyful service, said spontaneous prayers of thanksgiving, and even said a few of those “old-fashioned” prayers that had so moved Bob.
For some time, I quietly sat in a chair next to Bob. I thanked God for the privilege of being his instrument in this overwhelming experience. I marveled at God’s mercy and grace. Before leaving, I asked Bob if he wanted to see our priest chaplain, since I would not return for another week, and he nodded.
I later learned that he had received the sacrament of reconciliation and the priest had also anointed him. I never saw Bob again but often prayed that he’d had a peaceful death.
Anne Wasserstrom is a retired hospice chaplain in Philadelphia.
In each NACC Now, during this 50th jubilee year, we are featuring a reflection by one of our NACC chaplains on his or her ministry and an experience of a gift of that ministry. Please allow Anne’s reflection to inspire you in writing this year one of your “gifts” of ministry. Your own reflection is welcomed! If you want to share a reflection, please contact David Lewellen ([email protected]).
2016 NATIONAL CONFERENCE APRIL 22-25, 2016
Mark your calendar for April 22-25, 2016, for the NACC 2016 National Conference!
Please mark your calendars for our 2016 NACC National Conference to be held Friday, April 22, to Monday, April 25, 2016, at the Chicago Marriott near Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
American Red Cross Disaster Spiritual Care Provider Orientation (Thursday, April 21, 2016)*
If you are interested in learning more about supporting the needs of those impacted by disaster and mass casualties, please consider registering for this four-hour orientation. More information on the session and how to register can be found on the NACC website.
Thank you to all those who submitted workshop proposals!*
We are grateful to all those who submitted workshops proposals for the 2016 National Conference. The Conference Planning Task Force will be reviewing and making selections during the next two weeks.
What do you know about NACC 2016 Conference plenary speaker George Fitchett?*
George Fitchett, DMin, PhD, is Professor and the Director of Research in the Department of Religion, Health, and Human Values, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago Illinois. (See more>)
CHAPLAINCY NEWS, EDUCATION, PROFESSIONAL SUPPORTS
A reminder: visit the research-literacy website, Transforming Chaplaincy Website*
As you may know, George Fitchett, DMin, PhD, BCC, and Wendy Cadge, PhD, are co-principal investigators in the newly awarded grant for research literacy among chaplains. They have now launched the project website entitled Transforming Chaplaincy: Promoting Research Literacy for Improved Patient Outcomes. (www.researchliteratechaplaincy.org) Funded by the John Templeton Foundation (www.templeton.org), this project is designed to better equip healthcare chaplains to use research to guide, evaluate and advocate for the daily spiritual care they provide patients, family members and colleagues. The three different research training opportunities for chaplains over the next four years include: paid fellowships for 16 board-certified chaplains to complete a two-year, research-focused Master of Science or Master of Public Health degree in epidemiology, biostatistics or public health at an accredited school of public health; 70 Curriculum development grants to be awarded to ACPE-accredited clinical pastoral education (CPE) residency programs that provide curricula to support incorporation of research literacy education, and an online continuing education course entitled, Religion, Spirituality and Health: An Introduction to Research, that has been co-funded by NACC and our cognate professional chaplaincy organizations and will be offered free of charge to our member with the goal of it being available in 2017. It will help build evidence-based chaplaincy care, and prepare our members to meet certification standards for chaplaincy research literacy. Go the website www.researchliteratechaplaincy.org to sign up to receive updates on the project.
Always looking for good summation of research on chaplaincy*
We were recently alerted to an article on HealthCare Chaplaincy Network website on a “Summary of key research findings regarding spiritual chaplaincy care impact” attributed to Brian Hughes.
It is very well done, a very good summary of current research.
Does your chaplaincy ministry involve the developmentally disabled?*
Our NACC chaplain, Noelani Sheckler-Smith, BCC, who currently works with the developmentally disabled, seeks to learn if more of our members are working with this population and would appreciate networking to learn from one another. If you are working with the developmentally disabled and would like the opportunity to network, please contact Noelani at [email protected]. The NACC will be glad to help set up these networking calls.
Get your merchandise today for Pastoral Care Week, October 25-31!*
The theme of this year’s Pastoral Care Week, October 25-31, 2015, is “Spiritual Care Together.”
For more information and resources, please go to: www.pastoralcareweek.org
NACC 2015 Webinars**
The NACC webinars for 2015 are in full swing. They address often-requested topics by our members. All are scheduled, as in past years, on Thursdays, 12:00-1:00 p.m. Central Time. For these webinars we offer the option of registering (and paying by credit card) online: ONLINE REGISTRATION. The registration form may be accessed by clicking on this link: REGISTRATION FORM. Mark your calendars now, and stay tuned for the special invitation to register online coming later this week!
October 15 & 22
The Journey of Mental Illness for Chaplains, Family Members, & Caretakers.
Presented by Kathleen Hagerty, CSJ, BCC
November 5 & 12
Practical Theology and Implications for Professional Ministry.
Presented by Kathleen A. Cahalan, MA, Ph.D
“Honoring the Gift: NACC and Chaplaincy Going Forward”
Presented by David A. Lichter, D.Min and Mary Lou O’Gorman, BCC
Healing Tree: a request for prayers*
Please let us know if you would like our membership to pray for your health and healing. Also please let us know when you want us to remove your name from our Healing Tree.
We continue to pray for: Jane Chiamaka Onuoha (very young baby of our NACC member Michael Onuoha), Kathleen (Kate) Sullivan, Sandy Tiefenbrun (spouse of Anita Barni), Marie Coglianese, Nancy and Sheila Amrich (nieces-in-law of NACC member Sr. Paracleta Amrich), Isabelita Boquiren, Michael Harkay, Diana Annunziato (Mother-in-law of NACC staffer Jeanine Annunziato), Sister Patricia Watkins, GNSH, Rev. Gerald U. Onuoha, David Markiewicz (grandson of NACC member Roberta Markiewicz), Sister Stephanie Morales, FMI, Marybeth Harmon, Renato Fallico, Susan Balling, Maria Meneses, Chaplain Julia Mary Sweeney (mourning the death of her sister, Margaret Maureen Lewis, BA Honors), Sr. Sheila Prendeville, CPPS, AnaLisa Bischoff, Sister M. Dianna Hell, Sister Maria Theresa Hronec, Betty and Louis Skonieczny, Jim Castello, Jeff Michel (brother-in-law of David Lichter), Thomas from Chicago (12 years old), Thomas Smiley (brother of member Diane Smiley), Marga Halala, Donn Renfro (son-in-law of Karen Pugliese), Amy in Atlanta (friend of NACC member Theresa Sullivan), Thomas (grandson of NACC member Ginny Grimes Allen), Beth from Boston (friend of NACC member Dana Sandlin), Sr. Janet Bielmann, Mary Potts (twin sister of Deacon Francis Potts), Elizabeth A. Walsh, Francesco Marshall, Glenn and Pat Teske, Susan Murphy, Fr. Jim Radde, SJ, Sr. Mary Clare Boland, SP, Sr. Phyllis Ann DiRenzo, Kathy Brier (daughter of NACC member Theresa Brier), Gloria Troxler, Fr. Kevin Ikpah, and Kelly Elizabeth Sexton (daughter of NACC member Melyssa Sexton).