Volunteers on THE UPPER ROOM CRISIS HOTLINE are priests, deacons, women religious and laity. They are not junior psychologists; rather they are on the Line as paraprofessional counselors or skilled-compassionate listeners. Each volunteers must attend a specifically designed training program to prepare them to respond to the calls coming in on the Line. Following their initial training, they participate in a monthly In-Service program which is organized and facilitated by Sr. Mary Frances Seeley. This enables them to keep current and confident in their ministry to the callers.

The initial training course is usually a 16 session accredited course in normal and abnormal psychology, role-playing, personal screening and interview. Every effort is made to ensure that the volunteers understand the holy and tremendous responsibility of responding to the calls of their brothers in need. Appropriate and certified experts in their field teach all sessions. Classes are usually formed and scheduled in the Fall of the year and held on the campus of the University of St. Francis.

All volunteers go by a code name, or pseudonym, when they are on duty so they are never personally identified. All contact between the caller and the volunteer is strictly forbidden and under no circumstances can they meet. If the caller or volunteer recognize the voice of the other they must turn the call over to another volunteer to protect the anonymity and confidentiality of the caller.

The trained volunteers are available to all callers. While our primary mission is for priests, deacons, and men religious, calls from lay people who find our number on the internet are responded t with charity and compassion. The caller will not be judged regardless of the content of the call, and all responses will be non-directive, i.e., the volunteer will assist the caller to respond to his concern or crisis in a manner best suiting his current situation and life’s goals.

If you are interested in becoming involved in this special ministry, contact Sister Mary Frances Seeley at 815-341-9124 or turch@sbcglobal.net for detailed information and dates of the forthcoming class.