Last October the Diocese of Killaloe invited applicants for two new ministry roles to serve parishes across the diocese into the future. The Ministry of Catechist and the Ministry of Pastoral Care were introduced by Bishop Fintan Monahan and 31 candidates have now been chosen to study for these new ministries.
An introductory evening was held in Carrigoran on January 10 and each month from now until Summer the candidates will have training weekends in Mount St. Joseph’s and Spanish Point as part of their preliminary year.
This Ministry of Catechist is for those who are interested in exploring Christian faith in a way that is meaningful for today and who is interested in helping others to explore these questions for themselves. A diocesan catechist will work to create opportunities for people to explore faith and to assist of various faith development programmes at both Parish and Pastoral Area Level especially around the moments of preparation for the Sacraments.
In most parishes, up to now, the priest was the only frontline minister. The Ministry of Pastoral Care, especially, has been seen as a ministry reserved to priests only. It’s the priest who visits the sick and elderly, brings them Holy Communion.
This ministry is being introduced into the Diocese of Killable, at this time, so that there will be trained people in our Christian Communities, with the necessary skills and awareness, to take up some of these ministries, in a time, when there are fewer priests covering wider areas.
Furthermore, the thinking about the Ministry of Pastoral Care has developed in our Church since Vatican II. No longer is it seen as ministry which only the priest can exercise. Nowadays, it is seen as a ministry of the whole Christian Community. Those who exercise this ministry do this on behalf of the Christian Community, showing the love and compassion of Christ to their neighbours at times of illness and vulnerability.
The primary focus of the role of the Pastoral Care Minister is to reflect God’s unconditional love and compassion. They will “exercise pastoral care” on behalf of the Christian Community to those who experience illness or aging. They will be a compassionate presence to families at the time of funeral, and where invited, they will be a supportive presence in times of bereavement.
The Ministry will take different forms according to local needs and the skills, and level of comfort of the Pastoral Care Minister. With training and experience it is envisaged that Pastoral Care Minister will be involved in some of the following areas:
- Visiting sick or elderly people at home, in a nursing home or in hospital setting—where such visits are welcome.
- Leading a lay-led liturgy or other form of prayer in a nursing home setting.
- Having a concern for those who are isolated or on their own in the community.
- Supporting people and families at a time of a funeral by offering personal contact, warmth and support where appropriate.
- Helping families to prepare a funeral liturgy and facilitating their involvement.
- In the future, it may become necessary for Pastoral Care Workers to lead some moments of the Funeral Liturgy such as the Receiving of Remains or the Rite of Committal.
- Sensitive care for people who are bereaved in a parish or pastoral area context according to their needs and wishes.
For more on the new ministries in the Diocese of Killaloe see https://www.killaloediocese.ie