In his recent apostolic exhortation, The Joy of Love, Pope Francis called for "good pastoral training ... especially in light of particular emergency situations arising from cases of domestic violence and sexual abuse." Given that one in four women and one in seven men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the Church's response to this issue is needed.
In response to the Holy Father's call for training, the National Catholic School of Social Service at The Catholic University of America and its partners are hosting the symposium "Hope, Help, And Healing: A Catholic Response to Domestic Abuse and Violence" on July 7 and 8. The symposium is designed for clergy and pastoral leaders who want to assist people harmed by domestic abuse and violence in their communities. Interactive presentations and experts in the field will address Catholic teachings regarding domestic abuse and violence, programs, and resources. Grounded in Catholic social teaching, participants will learn to champion a compassionate response to domestic abuse in their parishes and agencies.
Mary Ann Deibel-Braun, LCSW, assistance coordinator with the Diocese of Buffalo, and Maria Picone, LCSW-R, department director of Catholic Charities Family and Community Services, are attending the important training on the Catholic response to domestic abuse and violence hosted by the Catholic University of America.
The symposium will host 54 speakers and 10 sessions. Experts in the field of domestic abuse and violence and Catholic teaching will present on topics from immigration laws and their impact on domestic violence to healthy teen dating.
More than 350 participants from across the United States have registered for the event. The conference agenda is based on the recommendations identified in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop's Pastoral Statement, When I Call for Help. The symposium is designed to help responders to domestic abuse and violence implement the many strategies recommended in the statement and to create a national Catholic conversation on the issue.
Four Catholic entities are partnering with The National Catholic School of Service (NCSSS) and its Catholics For Family Peace Education and Research Initiative to present this Symposium: the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Washington and Catholic Charities Diocese of Arlington. The event's inaugural sponsor is the National Council of Catholic Women.
The Catholic University of America is the national university of the Catholic Church and the only higher education institution founded by the U.S. bishops. Established in 1887 as a papally chartered graduate and research center, the University comprises 12 schools and 22 research facilities and is home to 3,480 undergraduate and 3,041 graduate students.