Tuesday, August 24th, 2021
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
"A powerful healing event to connect all human beings to our own darkness and light together."
The diocese and Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center present the V.A.’s first Female Veteran Moral Injury: Healing Ceremony. Please support our female veterans and join us virtually as they tell their stories. This is a free event.
The Community Healing Ceremony is a service of reconciliation for veterans and non-veterans led by VA chaplains, community clergy, and veterans. The ceremony provides a space to celebrate veterans' moral sensitivity and moral seriousness, share the truth of their military experience, and initiate them in a process of transformation we call "patient to prophet." Veterans who bear moral injury are not sick people with a disorder, they are responsible moral agents who are morally-laden with an unfair burden that will only be relieved when that burden is more equitably distributed among all who own some portion of responsibility for the harmful consequences of military service. Psychiatrist Robert J. Lifton described the prophetic mission of veterans this way: "Their experience parallels that of priests and shaman, the predecessors of biblical prophets, who ventured into the 'land of death' and then 'returned' to bring their people deepened knowledge of the mysteries of life and death." He says the essence of their "truth-mission" is "conveying truth at the source" which is both the basis for "personal transformation" and the source of "regenerative insight" for the community as a whole.
During the Ceremony, veterans bear witness to the human cost of war and military service while the community listens to, and wrestles with, moral responsibility and civic duty. Blame and guilt is not avoided or abandoned, but shared in a way that advances therapeutic helping and healing. Sharing, and holding one another responsible, for painful truths about the harmful consequences of military service and U.S. authorized warfare is difficult but necessary to authentically honor veterans, relieve them of the moral burden many too often carry in isolation, and reconcile veterans both with the society, on whose behalf they were willing to kill and die, and with the people who died in war. The ceremony shifts the focus of the work away from individual therapy or treatment of the veteran and gives the work of deep remembering, moral reckoning, and moral reasoning back to the community. The presence of non-veterans and veterans together is necessary to advance the work of reconciliation.
Caution: Veterans will testify at this event to the realities of warfare and military service. Some may be disturbed, unsettled, or even overwhelmed by what they hear. Still, we encourage everyone to attend and stay for the entire ceremony.