July 26, 2019

Priest and author to speak on ministering to those affected by suicide

This year’s Mission Day Conference for those in consolation ministries will take place at The Atrium Banquet and Conference Center, 3143 E. Thompson Road, in Indianapolis, from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sept. 10.

The topic will focus on working with, ministering to and interacting with those who have been affected by suicide. Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate Father Ronald Rolheiser will be the keynote speaker.

The event, sponsored by the archdiocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life, is intended for pastoral ministers, parish consolation and bereavement teams, chaplains, clergy, school administrators, counselors, funeral home personnel, social workers, nurses and anyone who offers support to those who have been affected by suicide.

“Many people have been touched by suicide,” says Deacon Michael Braun, director of the archdiocesan Secretariat for Pastoral Ministries. “The workshop will explore the unique emotions, complicated grief and unanswered questions related to suicide.”

Father Ronald is president of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. He is also a sought-after speaker and author, perhaps most-known for The Holy Longing and The Shattered Lantern, both receiving one or more Catholic book awards.

His most recent book, Bruised and Wounded: Struggling to Understand Suicide, was published in 2017. The book helps remove the stigma around suicide, as seen by such chapter titles as “Removing the Taboo,” “Despair as Weakness Rather then Sin,” “Reclaiming the Memory of Our Loved One,” and “The Pain of the Ones Left Behind.”

“Those who have been touched by suicide know there can be a stigma in both the Christian and secular world surrounding this deeply personal event,” says Deacon Braun. “Father Rolheiser will lead us through a spiritual approach to understanding suicide that appeals to Catholics and non-Catholics alike, and will help anyone who supports those who have experienced suicide to provide hope, consolation and empathy.”

The cost to attend is $30, which includes lunch and materials. A certificate of attendance will be available for those seeking continuing education credits.

Registration is required by Aug. 27. For more information or to register, go to www.archindy.org/marriageandfamily/ministries-bereavement.html.

For questions, call Gabriela Ross, coordinator of the archdiocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life, at 317-592-4007. †

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