For more than 15 years at Holy Apostles, the Stephen Ministry has walked with parishioners in times of struggles and grieving. This ministry provides one-to-one, distinctly Christian care to those who are hurting.
Stephen Ministry is an international organization, founded in 1975. Stephen Ministers across the world walk with people after life disruptors — such as the death of a loved one, a medical diagnosis, a job loss, a divorce, or a personal tragedy. Holy Apostles is blessed to have this ministry serving our parishioners.
Sheila Ludwig joined this ministry in 2009 and is one of the 12 ministers currently serving our parish. She and the rest of the ministers receive 50 hours of in-person training taught by local Stephen Leaders, who utilize the training materials provided by Stephen Ministry. It includes — but is not limited to — reading the study manual and books, small-group discussions, and role-playing. Upon completion of the training, they sign a covenant committing to the ministry and the care provided and are commissioned at Mass by accepting the promises of the Stephen Ministry. Once commissioned, ministers are required to attend supervision and continuing education once per month.
“Stephen Ministers often express that the training helps them in all aspects of life, as it focuses on active listening, caring, and not judging,” Sheila says. “We walk with people in darkness who are struggling. The monthly meetings support the Stephen Ministers, as the nature of this ministry can take a toll on them. Stephen Leaders ensure that our ministers have the prayers and support they need to provide care for those who are hurting.”
Sheila assigns the Stephen Ministers to parishioners in need. Oftentimes, these parishioners are experiencing grief, loneliness, or medical issues. Sometimes parishioners are connected with Stephen Ministry because a loved one passed away and the funeral was held at Holy Apostles.
“I have received many thank you cards expressing how having a Stephen Minister to count on showing up and listening during the time of darkness helped them during the challenge, primarily grief,” Sheila says. “I regularly receive many hugs from care receivers before and after Mass expressing how much their Stephen Minister helped them. It fills my heart to hear them more at peace than when I assigned their Stephen Minister.”
If you are interested in becoming a Stephen Minister or know someone that would like to be connected with this ministry, contact Sheila Ludwig at 719-287-7716 or email@example.com.