Thursday, May 9, 2013

Ministry Spotlight: Listening Hearts

MINISTRY SPOTLIGHT is a new feature. Please feel free to contact Vicki about a ministry you are involved in. Remember ministries are not only through the Cathedral--you may be sharing your spiritual gifts with ministries outside the Cathedral, (such as Hands Up Food Pantry or Uptown Faith). To Spotlight your ministry email Vicki Hoppenrath at

Ministry Spotlight: LISTENING HEARTS Volunteer: Richard Bonacci 

Describe your ministry: Trained listeners prayerfully assist a person in their discernment process. The person has the opportunity to share with three trained discerners an issue in their life about which they would like more clarity. It might focus on significant changes in their life or a possible calling to ordained ministry.

What have you learned about yourself through your ministry? I’ve learned that I am a good and compassionate listener, that I can see connections that might not be immediately obvious to others, and that I empathize with people who may find discernment particularly challenging.

Have you seen Jesus through your ministry? The small group of discerners surrounding and supporting the person in discernment is a microcosm of the “body of Christ”. I am often keenly aware of the Spirit of God, working through the interactions in the Listening Hearts sessions and in my private periods of prayer.

What is the biggest secret about your ministry? Most people would benefit from availing themselves of this ministry. We all have questions nagging at us, some we are better able to verbalize than others, but discussing them in community will most often provide greater clarity, whether that comes immediately or only after a longer period of reflection.

Why would you recommend your ministry to another person? This ministry builds upon skills and personality traits not usually sought out or fully developed in more active ministries, particularly the ability to prayerfully listen, to sit in silence, and the need to keep in check your own opinions and expectations while focusing on the concerns and priorities of another. Each of these is a real gift.

What is the time commitment? Listening Hearts requires a training of a day and a half, which occurs on a weekend. A Listening Hearts session lasts for three hours.

If you are interested in volunteering for Listening Hearts, please contact Susan Ward at

1 comment:

Vicki Hoppenrath said...

Thank you Richard for sharing your wonderful Ministry with all of us!