Respite Care Team ministers meet in Madison Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019 -- 12:00 AM
respite care team
Peg Weber, left, retired nurse and presenter at the Respite Care Team Ministry’s 2019 Leader Luncheon, speaks to congregation ministers about “The Stress of Compassion” at Holy Name Heights in Madison. (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

MADISON -- For a special group of people that have hearts for caring, and share those hearts with others, October 7 was a day to come together, communicate, celebrate, and appreciate.

The annual Respite Care Team Ministry Team Leader Luncheon was held at Holy Name Heights in Madison.

The day was a mini retreat to help refresh, recharge the leadership, introduce them to valuable community programs, and give them a chance to connect with others in the same roles.

About the team

Congregation-based Respite Care Teams of volunteers offer in-home services to frail, older, isolated adults and their families, or informal caregivers.

Services include an array of non-medical services including: rest and relief for caregivers, friendly visits and telephone reassurance, transportation for errands and outings, assistance with mail correspondence, sorting, organizing, and bill paying.

Training and ongoing support for team members are provided through a collaboration of Catholic Charities Madison and Oakwood Lutheran Senior Ministries in Madison.

Sharing ministries

Nearly 30 people from 20 Catholic parishes and Christian churches attended the event -- each with their own care team.

Retired nurse and presenter Peg Weber gave two talks at the event -- one about “The Stress of Compassion” and “Scattering Joy”.

Both of these talks served to support and bring together all the ministers and led to opportunities for everyone to share their experiences, blessings, and challenges in care team ministry.

Members of community programs were also on hand to present what resources they can provide to the care teams.

Represented organizations were: the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Dane County, the Apostolate for Persons with Disabilities-Diocese of Madison, All Saints Neighborhood in Madison, and Safe Communities of Madison-Dane County -- a local non-profit coalition that brings together public and private sector partners to save lives, prevent injuries, and make the community a safer place.

Blessings from the bishop

Bishop Donald J. Hying of Madison attended part of the event, and learned about what Respite Care Team Ministry is all about.

The bishop asked each participant to introduce themselves and tell him about their church’s ministry and the work they do to help others.

After getting to know them better, Bishop Hying asked, “What can I do to support you?” and welcomed any suggestions.

Later, Bishop Hying blessed some small wooden crosses, sometimes known as “worrying crosses”.

The crosses, smooth and soothing to rub, signify the “stress of compassion” present in this kind of ministry, such as assisting older adults and people experiencing difficult times.

They also signify the beauty of sharing other people’s crosses and burdens.

“We find joy in the cross,” Bishop Hying said. “It’s in the mystery of Christ uniting himself to our suffering that we find meaning and purpose . . . and you become ministers of that reconciliation and that joy and peace to people who find themselves facing the cross.”

To learn more about Respite Care Team Ministry, go to and click on Respite Care Team Ministry under the “Services” tab.


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