Let there be light with the iTHIRST summer program

The program is led by Keaton Douglas, Seton Hall alumnus and founder and executive director of the iTHIRST initiative.

The iTHIRST Spiritual Fellowship Certificate Training Program returns to Seton Hall in the summer of 2022, August 9 through September 29. Offered by the Continuing Education and Professional Studies Division, sessions will take place every Tuesday and Thursday, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The iTHIRST program provides faith-based education for those who suffer from substance abuse and those who wish to be trained and support those who suffer. According to a study by Foundation for Religious Freedom and Business“At any given time, there are 20 million Americans with a substance use disorder (SUD). And tragically, each year an estimated 158,000 people die from alcohol or However, one of the most effective tools to prevent and/or recover from addiction is often overlooked: faith.And when it comes to long-term recovery, faith-based programs are a driving force.

The program seeks to provide a spiritual remedy for the desolation, abandonment and guilt that are all “characteristics” of the life of an addict through specialized programs that students are trained to develop and implement. The iTHIRST program also aims to provide support to treatment facilities and incarcerated individuals, and to develop a follow-up community for sufferers and their families.

Through the program’s outreach, people in withdrawal management, long-term treatment, and those incarcerated are introduced to the concept of spirituality as a necessary dimension of well-being. They have the opportunity to develop a spiritual “road map” that allows them to find a higher power, even in the midst of their struggles – and allows it to change them.

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to offer information about spiritual comfort and recovery resources to the afflicted and their families, as well as work with their pastors to develop or complete a recovery ministry that meets the needs of their parishes. Academically certified by iTHIRST and Seton Hall University, participants who successfully complete the program are eligible to receive 4.8 continuing education units.

The program is led by Keaton Douglas, an alumnus of Seton Hall’s Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology and founder and executive director of iTHIRST, an acronym for “The Healing Initiative—Recovery, Spirituality and Twelve steps.” The initiative aims to give people in recovery the spiritual tools they need to stay sober and lead the faith-based fight against substance use disorders, especially opioid addiction.

The iTHIRST program was taught in the Archdiocese of Boston at the request of Cardinal O’Malley’s Opioid Task Force; to the seminarians of Heredia, Costa Rica; and at the Sanctuary of St. Joseph in Stirling, New Jersey. iTHIRST, in conjunction with SHU, has trained people in 12 different states and internationally, bringing information about spiritual comfort and recovery resources to people in the United States and Ireland.

What participants say after completing the program:

The iTHIRST program exceeded my expectations. So relevant to our time when many individuals, families and communities are impacted by addiction, whether it is through substance abuse, video games, gambling and many other unhealthy attachments. The program offers a unique scriptural approach based on the success of the 12-step recovery program. – Nancy H., Boston, MA.

After many years of working with inmates, I realized that to be more effective, I needed to know more about drug addiction and addicts. iTHIRST came at the right time. This will not only support my work in prison, but allow me to help establish a recovery ministry in my parish, serving incarcerated elders and their families, as well as the parish and surrounding communities. – Paul K., Duxbury, MA.

…The program has blessed my spiritual growth and my ability to give back to my parish and quench the thirst of the bereaved and their families. -Mark P., Andover, MA.

About the iTHIRST Spiritual Companionship Program
The iTHIRST initiative enables dioceses, parishes and communities to become a resource for people with addictions and their families. At the heart of iTHIRST is the understanding that there is a spiritual dimension to the disease of addiction that cannot be satisfied by clinical professionals, but only through the spiritual comfort and guidance that the Church can provide.

iTHIRST is an initiative of the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity, a religious community of priests and brothers who serve the poor and abandoned.

Please visit the iTHIRST Spiritual Companionship Certification Training Program page to register for the Summer 2022 cohort.

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