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The Emmaus Ministry for Grieving Parents

Serving the Spiritual Needs of Parents Whose Children of Any Age Have Died by Any Cause —  No Matter How Long Ago

Of all the pains that life can hand us, arguably one of the most searing is the death of a child. As Jesus joined his distraught disciples on the road to Emmaus after his crucifixion, we ask him to join each of us in this ministry as we continue on our difficult journeys from grief to the healing peace that we, like Jesus’ disciples, can find in the Eucharistic community.

To meet the spiritual needs of Catholic parents whose children of any age have died by any cause—no matter how long ago—the Family Life † Respect Life Office offers The Emmaus Ministry for Grieving Parents. A unique, faith-based program providing spiritual retreats for grieving parents offered by grieving parents, the Emmaus Ministry offers a safe place where you can find peace, comfort, and hope, at least for a time. Join us at one of the following Emmaus Ministry Catholic retreats now being offered in the Archdiocese of New York.

One-day retreats offered twice at St. Joseph’s Seminary: (201 Seminary Ave., Yonkers, NY 10704)
Saturday, February 11, 2017 and Saturday, February 25, 2017
9:30 AM – 7:30 PM 

One-day retreat offered at the Church of the Magdalene (525 Bedford Road, Pocantico Hills, Tarrytown, New York 10591)
Saturday, April 1, 2017, 9:30 AM – 7:30 PM
Cost: $25 per person, $40 per couple, Scholarships are available

To register online: www.emfgp.org/archny or, contact Sue DiSisto, Coordinator, Parenting and Family Life Education at susan.disisto@archny.org or (646) 794-3191.

Una noche para recordar, orar, e interceder

Una noche para recordar, orar, e interceder

Cada mujer, hombre, familia, profesional de la salud, y todos nosotros hemos sido directa o indirectamente afectados por el aborto. En respuesta a ello, nos reunimos para orar y buscar la sanación y el perdón.

Esta noche incluirá:
• La Santa Misa
• Adoración al Santísimo
• Testimonios de personas que han sido afectadas por el aborto
• Oración de intercesión
• El Santo Rosario
• Sacramento de la Reconciliación

Patrocinado por:
Iglesia St. Helena
La oficina de Vida Familiar / Respeto a la Vida de la Arquidiócesis de NY (646-794-3199) Lumina/ Esperanza y Sanación después del aborto (877-586-4621)

Life Matters: Domestic Violence

Life Matters: Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a hidden scourge on our families and communities. Those who are victimized often keep it a private matter for various reasons: fear, shame, well-intended efforts to preserve the family. Aggressors, if they even recognize their problem, are not likely to have it addressed. Yet it touches many, and knows no boundaries of race, social class, ethnicity, creed or age (most victims are first abused as teens). Statistics suggest one in four women experience domestic violence in their lifetime, and three in four Americans are reported to know a victim, though most episodes are not reported to the authorities. Although the majority of victims are female, an estimated 15% are males.

Domestic violence and emotional abuse are typically used together in a relationship to control the victim. Persons may be married, living together, or dating. Examples of emotional abuse include name-calling, putdowns, restricting contact with family or friends, withholding money, preventing a partner from working, actual or threatened physical harm (hitting, pushing, shoving), sexual assault, stalking, and intimidation. InThe Gospel of Life Blessed John Paul II highlighted the gravity of the issue: “At the root of every act of violence against one’s neighbor there is a concession to the ‘thinking’ of the evil one, the one who ‘was a murderer from the beginning’ (Jn 8:44).” He also outlined the importance of the family as the primary community of life and love in which children are nurtured. How vital it is, then, to understand how to keep family members safe from violence in their homes, and how to heal and reunite families where violence has occurred, when possible.

The person being harmed

Persons experiencing domestic violence are often termed “victims,” or if the situation has resolved, “survivors,” but it is most important to recall they are children of God, with inherent dignity and deserving our love and respect.This is especially true because as abused persons they are often plagued by feelings of shame, fear, and depression, and have lost sight of the essential fact of their dignity and worthiness to be loved. At times they may also make decisions that cause an observer (family member or friend) to question their judgment, or become frustrated with them for remaining in what seems to be an obviously dangerous or hopeless situation.

It is commonly accepted that domestic violence is rarely an isolated incident, but is a pattern of behavior aimed at establishing and maintaining power and control over another. The pattern is typically described as a “cycle of violence,” and the seriousness escalates with each occurrence. The “cycle” begins with a “set-up” phase: The abuser creates a situation in which the victim has no choice but to react in a way that, in the abuser’s mind, justifies the abuse. After the violence, the abuser may fear being held accountable, and so may apologize or make excuses for his or her behavior, pledge to never do it again, or use gifts as a way of coping with guilt or preventing the victim from telling. Next, however, the abuser may excuse the incident as the victim’s fault, or resume “life as usual” as if nothing happened. The abuser expects that the victim will participate in the cover-up. Finally, the abuser thinks about the past and the future in a manner that drives the abuser to mentally “set up” the next episode of violence.

Some victims of domestic abuse have a tendency to “normalize” violent behavior based on experiences in their family of origin, where they struggled with their sense of self-worth, setting boundaries, or emotional dependence. Even though the family of origin was dysfunctional, its unhealthy equilibrium may have been the only thing the person knew. Consequently, some may feel guilty about considering betraying the abuser, or fear they will be judged or further deprived of affection if they disclose or attempt to leave. These persons benefit from counseling that affirms their inherent dignity, helps them understand the dysfunctional patterns in their past and current relationships, and assists them in establishing a safe home and relationships.

Who are the abusers, and is there hope?

Although common characteristics have been identified, there is no “typical” abuser. In public, they may appear friendly and loving to their family, while the violence and its consequences are hidden from view. The violence does not happen randomly, or solely because of stress or substance abuse; abusers use violence to get what they want. This being said, it is important to recognize that the abusers were not “born that way,” but have their own history of developmental and family problems (often being abused) that can explain how they learned to be aggressive. Because abusers often have a poor sense of self-worth, they do not take responsibility for their actions and try to blame the victim instead. Thus the person perpetrating the violence needs his own help and healing.

Aggressors must first become aware of their need for psychological assistance before they can recover and exercise healthier patterns of bonding and communicating. It is difficult for people to seek help, often burdened by shame, fear of being judged, or psychological issues (e.g., addictions). Once the problem is recognized, there is reason for hope: psychotherapists can help such persons with their thinking, forgiveness, emotional stability, and relationship skills. These skills (e.g., empathy) should be developed first with close friends and family members (initially not the victim), so that the aggressor can experience a healthy manner of dealing with his emotions and disappointments. Although this work can be lengthy and painful, as the perpetrator’s own dignity and worth are rediscovered and affirmed, his ability to then approach and attempt reconciliation with the offended person is greatly enhanced.

The role of friends and extended family

Although this problem tends to be hidden, friends, colleagues, and extended family can play a critical role in fostering peace. Victims generally ask for help only when the risk of violence increases. An important step to help in preventing or stopping violence is recognizing certain risk factors such as jealousy, hypersensitivity and possessiveness, or controlling, explosive or threatening behaviors. If you believe someone you know may be in a troubled situation, you should call a hotline number for assistance, or encourage the person to do so themselves (911, the local hotline, or the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233/TTY 1-800-787-3224). Research shows that accessing domestic violence shelter resources reduces the incidence and severity of future violence substantially. When recovering from abuse, victims need guidance in planning for their safety. Consultation with legal advisors can help them to understand how to report and ask for further protection.

In sum, the gravity and difficulty for families touched by domestic violence is severe. Although the struggle toward healing and recovery can be difficult, our faith gives us reason for hope. On the World Day of Peace in 1997, Blessed John Paul II focused on this theme, as demanding as it is vital: “Offer forgiveness and receive peace…. I know well that it is hard, and sometimes even appears to be impossible to forgive, but it is the only way, because all revenge and all violence give rise to further revenge and violence. It is certainly less difficult to forgive when one is aware that God never tires of loving and forgiving us…. Let us never forget that everything passes, and only the eternal can fill the heart.”


Frank J. Moncher, PhD, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Arlington

LA VIDA IMPORTA: LA VIOLENCIA DOMÉSTICA

LA VIDA IMPORTA: LA VIOLENCIA DOMÉSTICA

La violencia doméstica es un azote oculto que afecta a nuestras familias y comunidades. Sus víctimas mantienen el asunto en privado, por varias razones: temor, vergüenza, esfuerzos bien intencionados por preservar la familia. Los agresores, si es que alguna vez reconocen su problema, es improbable que accedan a tratarlo. Alcanza a mucha gente y no conoce fronteras de raza, clases sociales, etnia, credo religioso o edad (la mayoría de las víctimas son agredidas por primera vez en su adolescencia). Las estadísticas indican que una de cada cuatro mujeres sufre violencia doméstica en algún momento de su vida, y que tres de cada cuatro estadounidenses conoce a alguna víctima, aunque la mayoría de los casos no son informados a las autoridades. La gran mayoría de las víctimas son mujeres, mientras se estima que 15% son hombres.

 

Se recurre usualmente a la violencia doméstica y el abuso emocional en una relación con el fin de controlar a la víctima. Pueden ser personas casadas, que viven juntas o “que salen”. El abuso emocional incluye insultos personales, jalones, impedir el contacto con familiares o amigos; retener el dinero, evitar que el compañero trabaje; amenazar con daño físico o causarlo (golpear, empujar), agresión sexual, acechar e intimidar. En su encíclica El Evangelio de la Vida el beato Juan Pablo II resaltó la gravedad del asunto: “En la raíz de cada violencia contra el prójimo se cede a la lógica del maligno, es decir, de aquél que “era homicida desde el principio” (Juan 8, 44)”. El Pontífice también delineó la importancia de la familia como comunidad primaria de vida y amor en la cual los niños se nutren. Cuán vital es, entonces, entender la forma de mantener a los miembros de la familia a salvo de la violencia en sus hogares, y cómo sanar y reunificar a aquellas familias donde ha sucedido la violencia, cuando sea posible.

 

La persona lastimada

Las personas que sufren violencia doméstica frecuentemente son catalogadas de “víctimas” o, si la situación ha sido resuelta, entonces se denominan “sobrevivientes”; pero, es más importante recordar que son Hijos de Dios, con una dignidad inherente, merecedores de nuestro amor y respeto. Esto es especialmente cierto porque como personas abusadas, frecuentemente están abrumadas por sentimientos de vergüenza, temor y depresión, y han perdido de vista el hecho esencial de su dignidad y su valía para ser amadas. A veces suelen también tomar decisiones que hacen que un observador (familiar o amigo) cuestione su sano juicio, o llegue a sentirse frustrado porque permanezcan en una situación a todas luces peligrosa e irrecuperable.

 

Se acepta comúnmente que la violencia doméstica en vez de manifestarse como incidente aislado, constituye un patrón de conducta de parte de alguien dirigido a establecer y mantener el poder y el control sobre otra persona. Este patrón es descrito como un “ciclo de violencia” cuya severidad se incrementa con cada episodio. Cada “ciclo” comienza por “echarle un gancho”: el agresor crea una situación en la cual la víctima no tiene otra opción que no sea reaccionar de forma que, en la mente de aquel, justifica la agresión. Tras el episodio de violencia, el agresor teme ser considerado responsable, y así puede que pida disculpas o presente excusas o prometa no volver a hacerlo jamás; o tal vez recurra a dádivas para lidiar con sus sentimientos de culpa o evitar que la víctima lo delate. A continuación, sin embargo, el agresor podría tratar de justificar el incidente como la culpa de la víctima, o reanudar “su vida cotidiana” como si nada hubiese ocurrido. El agresor espera que la víctima participará en el encubrimiento. Finalmente, el agresor proyecta tanto el pasado como el futuro de una manera que lleva al agresor a “echar otro gancho” que cree el próximo episodio de violencia.

 

Algunas víctimas de abuso doméstico tienen una tendencia a “normalizar” el comportamiento violento sobre la base de experiencias habidas en su familia de origen, en las cuales se debatieron con su sentido de autoestima, fijación de límites o dependencia emocional. A pesar de que la familia de origen era disfuncional, su insano equilibrio es la única cosa que la persona recuerda. Consecuentemente, la persona puede sentirse culpable por haber sopesado el traicionar al agresor, o teme ser juzgada o privada de afecto si revela el caso o intenta separarse. Estas personas se beneficiarían de consejos que los ayuden a reafirmar su dignidad inherente, a comprender la existencia de patrones disfuncionales en sus anteriores y actuales relaciones, y las asista en el proceso de establecer un hogar y relaciones sanas.

 

¿Quiénes son los agresores? ¿Hay esperanza?

Aunque se han identificado ciertas características comunes, no puede decirse que haya un “agresor típico”. En público, ellos pueden aparentar ser amistosos y amantes de su familia, mientras ocultan de la vista ajena la violencia y sus consecuencias. La violencia no ocurre al azar, o únicamente a causa del estrés o el uso de drogas; los agresores recurren a la violencia para obtener lo que quieren. Dicho esto, es importante reconocer que los agresores no “nacieron así” sino que tienen su propia historia de problemas de desarrollo y familiares (frecuentemente el haber sido abusados) los cuales ayudarían a explicar cómo aprendieron a ser agresivos. Ya que los agresores frecuentemente carecen de suficiente autoestima, no asumen la responsabilidad de sus acciones y en lugar de ello tratan de culpar a la víctima. Por tanto, la persona que perpetra violencia necesita ayuda y curación.

 

Antes de que pueda recuperarse y asumir patrones de unión y comunicación, el agresor debe darse cuenta de que necesita asistencia psicológica. Es difícil para una persona el buscar ayuda si está, como ocurre a menudo, abrumada por la vergüenza, el temor de ser juzgada y arrastra una que otra dificultad psicológica (por ejemplo, adicciones). Una vez reconocido el problema, hay razones para tener esperanza: los psicoterapeutas pueden ayudar a estas personas con su forma de pensar, el perdón, la estabilidad emocional y las capacidades de relación. Estas capacidades, como por ejemplo la de la empatía, deben desarrollarse primero con amigos cercanos y familiares (inicialmente, no la victima), de manera que el agresor pueda conocer formas sanas de manejar sus emociones y decepciones. Aunque este trabajo puede ser largo y doloroso, a medida que el perpetrador va descubriendo y reafirmando su propia dignidad y valía, se ensancha su capacidad para acercarse a la persona ofendida e intentar la reconciliación.

 

Papel de los amigos y familiares

Pese a que este problema tiende a estar oculto, los amigos, colegas, y la familia extendida pueden jugar un papel clave en fomentar la paz. Las victimas por lo general buscan ayuda solo cuando se incrementa el riesgo de violencia. Un paso importante hacia evitar o detener la violencia es reconocer ciertos factores de riesgo, como los celos, la hipersensibilidad y la posesividad, o comportamientos de querer controlar, explosivos o amenazantes. Si considera que alguien conocido se halla en una situación problemática o perturbadora, llame a una línea directa en busca de asistencia, o anime a la propia persona a hacerlo (911, la línea de emergencia local o la Línea Directa de Violencia Doméstica Nacional: 1-800-799-7233/TTY 1-800-787-3224). Los estudios muestran que acceder a los refugios de violencia doméstica reduce substancialmente la incidencia y la severidad de los futuros casos de violencia. Mientras se recuperan del maltrato, las victimas necesitan orientación en planificar su seguridad. Consultar con asesores legales puede ayudarlos a entender cómo informar y solicitar protección adicional.

 

En resumen, la gravedad y las dificultades que conlleva para las familias el ser afectadas por la violencia doméstica es severa. A pesar de que la lucha hacia la curación y la recuperación puede ser difícil, nuestra fe nos da razones para tener esperanza. En su mensaje para el Ángelus de la Jornada Mundial de la Paz del 1º de enero de 1997, el Papa Juan Pablo II, centrado en este tema, tan exigente como de vital importancia, expresó: “Ofrece el perdón, recibe la paz”… Sé muy bien que es difícil perdonar y que, a veces, parece imposible, pero es el único camino, pues toda venganza y toda violencia engendran otras venganzas y otras violencias. Resulta, ciertamente, menos difícil perdonar cuando se tiene conciencia de que Dios no se cansa de amarnos y perdonarnos… No olvidemos nunca que todo pasa y que sólo lo eterno puede colmar el corazón”.

 

El doctor Frank J. Moncher es Psicólogo

Fortnight for Freedom

Fortnight for Freedom

Fortnight for Freedom | June 21-July 4, 2016

Join us for the third annual Fortnight For Freedom from June 21 – the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More – to July 4, Independence Day.  The Fortnight For Freedom is a call to fourteen days of prayer, education, and action for religious freedom in the United States and abroad.  The Fortnight for Freedom is In the statement, Our First, Most Cherished Liberty.

 

5 Ways to Celebrate the Fortnight for Freedom

  1. Pray  – The U.S. Bishops are encouraging the faithful to pray and fast for the renewal of a culture of life and marriage and for protection of religious liberty. In particular, Catholics are invited to make a pledge to fast and abstain from meat on Fridays. Below are suggested intentions and reflections for each Friday fast.  Please visit www.usccb.org/fast to subscribe to receive the weekly reminder, intention, and reflection by email. Or text “FAST” to 55000 to receive text messages.
  2. Learn – Catholic teaching on religious freedom is rich and has much to offer our culture today. Consider getting a study group together to read and discuss what religious freedom is really all about. Resources are available at www.fortnightforfreedom.org. Or, consider hosting a religious freedom movie night at your house or parish. Films can be a great way to learn about and reflect on our faith. Here are a few suggestions:  » A Man for All Seasons, about the martyrdom of St. Thomas More  » For Greater Glory, about the struggle for religious freedom in Mexico  » First Freedom: The Fight for Religious Liberty, a PBS video about religious freedom » Becket, about 12th century English martyr St. Thomas à Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
  3. Gather – Get together and celebrate religious freedom with a parish picnic or barbecue. Hand out religious freedom conversation starters as a way to spur discussion about our first, most precious liberty.
  4. Pilgrimage – Join Catholics from all over the country in the nation’s capital on July 4 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception to pray for our country and for our Church.
  5. Share! – Share pictures of Fortnight celebrations in your area on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtag #Fortnight4Freedom.

 

Visit:  fortnight4freedom.com to learn more!

Disclaimer

The opinions expressed by the authors and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Archdiocese of New York. The Archdiocese of New York is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied in the blog. The webmaster reserves the right to exclude comments that are deemed to be objectionable or otherwise inappropriate.

Family Life † Respect Life