Monday, March 30, 2009

Group will bring HOPE to local Parishes!

Posted by Hannah at 8:45 AM

Catholic San Francisco has a group of people in San Franciso, California to help bring a light of HOPE to local Parishes! They will to help their local churches have an resource to deal with the evil of domestic violence.

The Ministers of Light, an emerging group organized by lay Catholics in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, aims to shine a torch in a very dark place - the lives of those suffering from the effects of domestic violence.

The group looks to fill a gap in the pastoral care available for fellow survivors and to raise awareness of domestic violence in local parishes, Marisela Sookraj, founder of the group and a survivor of domestic violence, told Catholic San Francisco.

Sookraj said that while faith communities are often the first place a survivor will turn to when looking for services and counseling, many churches are ill equipped to handle the situation. Her goal is to train and install lay ministers to serve as in-house resources and advocates for survivors of domestic violence in each of the archdiocese's 89 parishes.

They aren't asking the churches to add to their already full plates, but giving them a resource to turn to when they are faced with families dealing with domestic violence within their church.

The group also recognizes that some people have left the church due to the non-response, and are asking them to come back and help with this effort!

She also said the group will not seek to saddle overworked pastors with an additional burden.

"The effort is about offering priests a resource in their community to respond to domestic violence," Sookraj said. "It's certainly not about inundating priests who already have a lot on their plates."

To that end, Sookraj said she only asks for priests' support in identifying parishioners who may be interested in taking domestic violence intervention and prevention training, and for their help in publicizing the group.

Maria Rosales-Uribe, fellow Mission Dolores parishioner and a lay facilitator who worked with Sookraj when she was in the parish's catechumenate program, said this approach is important.

"We need priests' support, but we don't want to add anything to their agenda," Rosales-Uribe said. "We're making it a grassroots movement from the people, bottom-up."

Contact information in case you are in their area:

For more information, contact Ministers of Light at (415) 625-2710 or

According the article the Catholic church has a position on domestic violence that I feel is rarely seen!

Sherie Querol Moreno, community outreach coordinator at CORA, said the Ministers of Light campaign is an important step toward making the Church a helpful environment for survivors of domestic violence.

"Many folks don't realize the position of Church from the bishops' statement in 1992 declaring abuse as that which breaks up families, not divorce," Querol Moreno said. "It is okay for both parties to seek help, because there is help available. People should not be afraid to speak up."

I wish this group great success, and I truly hope the area parishes take advantage of this wonderful asset to their resources to help those within their church. This group sounds like they can bring great hope to their local parishes!

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