“Time spent with the sick and imprisoned is holy time….Wisdom of the heart means going forth from ourselves toward our brothers and sisters.” Pope Francis
This brief but insightful message by Pope Francis is an important summons to serve in ministry for all of us – clergy and laity.
The CCC has a special commitment to Catholic women and men who feel the stirrings Pope Francis referenced and move out of themselves to serve. Many of the Catholic laity want to spend quality time with the sick, time marked by patient, compassionate companionship with those in need. Time characterized by careful listening which gives time and space for the other to speak from the heart, those fears and those joys. This is quality time which is rare in the everyday course of human interaction.
The CCC calls Catholic laity, who offer this type of time to the sick, pastoral visitors. These sisters and brothers in Christ are massively important to the CCC. Their ministry is core to the CCC’s vision.
Pastoral visitors’ ability to listen empathically, offering effective emotion and spiritual support, augments the sacramental ministry of CCC priests in powerful ways. With the daily guidance and support by assigned lay chaplains, pastoral visitors do not offer ministry in isolation but in close collaboration with a skilled, trusted lay chaplain colleague.
Advancing the ministry of diocesan pastoral visitors has a solid start. There are currently over 275 CCC pastoral visitors currently serving in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. In addition, more than 190 Catholic women and men have completed the CCC Foundation (introductory) Course in pastoral care ministry in the past 18 months. While this is an impressive start, the archdiocese and the CCC are determined to expand this lay ministry. There are so many opportunities to sustain persons in need in Christ’s name.
If you are interested in learning more about the CCC pastoral visitor program, please contact the CCC office at 713-747-8445 or email Denice Foose at firstname.lastname@example.org.