What is Stephen Ministry?
Saint Joseph Catholic Church is a Stephen Ministry Congregation. That means we have a group of people who have undergone extensive training to develop and nurture their caring skills to support those who are experiencing concerns in living their lives. These volunteers are called Stephen Ministers and are available, as needed, for distinctively Christian caring and support. However, a caring relationship may not begin unless it is requested. That request is called a referral.

How does the referral process work?
Someone is hurting and in need of a Christian friend. Stephen Ministry is for anyone who needs support during a difficult time in life and is open to the caregiving a Christian friend has to offer. We all have those “speed bumps” in our road of life, times when we are lonely, confused, hurt, frightened, grieving or questioning our faith.
In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells us such crises can be opportunities for personal growth for the one experiencing them. But as we who are in Christ experience suffering of one sort or another, we also experience comfort through Christ. One way we receive this comfort is through others who have likewise received comfort and care through Christ (II Corinthians 1:4-6).

Our Stephen Ministers are available to serve those who seek their care. One has only to ask and be willing to accept care.

Who can be referred?
Any member of Saint Joseph Church may refer themselves, a family member, friend, neighbor, church member or non-member. Minor children are ineligible. Stephen Ministry is one-on-one support. Couples are not assigned as a couple, nor a family as a group. Each individual can be assigned their own Stephen Minister. Women are only assigned with women and men assigned with men.

How does one request a referral?
You may request a Stephen Ministry referral by speaking with Fr. Tom Santen at 636-227-5247 or the Stephen Leader Referral Co-ordinator, Anne Grant at 636-227-3185. You may also speak to a Staff member or to any Stephen Minister. They will pass the request directly to the Referral Co-ordinator. If you are referring someone other than yourself, it is appropriate to have that person’s permission for referral.

Then what happens?
The referral co-ordinator will contact the person, affirm their willingness to receive care, explain the Stephen Ministry Program and confirm permission to assign an available Stephen Minister who then calls to arrange a visit. The Stephen Minister and the care receiver will discuss the issue(s) of concern and decide upon a regular meeting schedule. The Stephen Minister will provide support as long as it is necessary. It may be a few visits or many.

I don’t want anyone to know about this.
Part of the covenant of Stephen Ministry is the commitment to maintain the highest level of confidentiality possible to protect the Care Receiver’s privacy. Only the Referral Coordinator, the assigned Stephen Minister and the Pastor will know your identity.

But I have heard people talking about their Stephen Minister.
If you refer another person, the Referral Coordinators will follow up on the referral. To maintain the highest level of confidentiality, we are not able to affirm or deny that any given individual has been assigned a Stephen Minister. Stephen Ministers never identify an individual as their care receiver or divulge what is shared in their meetings. The care receivers, however, are free to disclose to anyone they choose that they have or have had a Stephen Minister and who that individual is.

Who are the Stephen Ministers in this parish?
Saint Joseph parishioners who completed their initial 50 hours of training and have been commissioned are: Youhna Ayala, Angel Costa, Barbara Damato, Larry Damato, Dorothy Essig, Paula Gockley, Anne Grant, Bill Grant, Bob Grimm, Susan Grimm, Evelyn Herman, Mary Jost, Ginny Kirwin, Jim Massman, Bridget McCullough, Chuck McMillan, Lynn McMillan, Mary Miller, Joan Nowak, Andy Rachelski, Kathleen Sagez, Ginna Schroeder, Linda Selaya, Anita Sutter, Sam Tremont, Bob Vondera, Gary Hempel, Linda Pennington, Lynn Cox, Myron Willis, Mari Bescancenez, Mike Bick, Cindy Bick, Cindy McGrail, Linda Schuessler, Cecilia Leon, Trudy Olree, JoAnn Paplanus, Kathie Grant, Katie Chervitz, Jerry Nash, Sarah VanWinkle, Paula Fuqua, Donna Kwasinski, and Maureen Clark.

Commissioned Stephen Ministers make a two-year committment and in addition to ministering to those in need, they also attend two continuing education training sessions each month. There will be a new training class beginning after Labor Day each year.

If you are interested in becoming a Stephen Minister, call Anne Grant, any Stephen Minister listed or Fr. Tom Santen.

Spanish speaking ministers are also available.