Ministry of Care
Ministry of Care to the sick is a pastoral ministry of caring for those who are hospitalized, in nursing homes or confined to private homes. This ministry is provided by trained and certified lay men and women, ordained deacons, vowed religious sisters and brothers and priests within the Archdiocese of Chicago. Ministers are trained and formed to conduct pastoral visits with time to listen and pray about the concerns of the sick or shut-in person and to share Eucharist with them.
The Office for Divine Worship coordinates this ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago in concert with other offices within the Department of Parish Vitality and Ministry. Additional information around how to structure a basic training program is available under Guidelines. If needed, the Ministry of Care can assist with the recommendation of the presenters and with the explanation of the structure of the program.
If you are a training site and would like to have your program listed, please contact us at 312.534.8008 or email to D. Todd Williamson (Email), and we will be happy to add you to our list.
Qualities of a Minister of Care to the Sick
Ministry of Care to the Sick is a service offered to people at vulnerable and painful times in their lives. The person who cares for the sick and shut-in needs to have specific qualities and gifts, including a listening presence, compassion and empathy, a non-judgmental mindset, confidentiality, commitment and follow-through, prayerfulness, a gentle demeanor and commitment to continuous training and spiritual development.
Serving as a Minister of Care is not volunteering; it is a ministry. As such, it’s important that Ministers not act on their own, but on behalf of the Church.
For additional information regarding available trainings, the process of mandating and guidelines how to structure a training, visit the Trainings, Mandating and Guidelines tabs below.
Trainings are held by local Parishes, Spiritual Centers, Institutions and Vicariates and occur throughout the year.
Saturday Morning Sessions
May 11 and 18, 2019
September 21 and 28, 2019
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Cost: $50 per person
Carmelite Spiritual Center, Darien, Illinois
Contact Sr. Jane Schlosser, RSM
Minister of Care Training in Vicariate I
Instructions for Mandating of Persons Who Complete a Basic Training Course
Pastors or those who coordinate Minister of Care Ministries in their parishes should request certificates and ID cards mandating individuals who have/has completed the initial training. This should be done in writing on parish letterhead. Requests can be faxed to our office at 312.534.5158 and should contain the name of the individuals, the training location and program attended.
Letters for certificates and ID cards should be written to the attention of Mr. D. Todd Williamson, Director of the Office for Divine Worship. All certificates and ID cards, to be completed by the parish, will be mailed from our office.
Please allow seven (7) working days for delivery. Certificates and ID cards can be issued in English, Spanish or Polish. Please indicate how many certificates you will need and in what languages. For example, a parish may have 13 newly trained individuals who would like their certificates/ID cards as follows: 10 in English, two in Spanish and one in Polish.
Renewing of Persons Who are Mandated Ministers of Care
After Labor Day of each year, letters are sent to pastors in parishes whose cycle is ending. This mailing contains forms to complete and return to the Office for Divine Worship for their parish's new, full, three-year term. When the paperwork has been received, new certificates and ID cards will be issued to the parish, to be completed for those who will be continuing service in this ministry.
Term of Service For Ministers of Care
All parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago are divided alphabetically into 3 year terms or cycles of service as follows:
Cycle A: Parishes or institutions starting with letter “A” through “G”
Example: St. Adalbert to St. Gregory the Great
Dates for Cycle A:
December 2, 2016 to November 28, 2017
Cycle B: Parishes or institutions starting with letter “H” through “M”
Example: St. Hedwig to Mother of God
Dates for Cycle B:
November 30, 2017 to November 27, 2018
Cycle C: Parishes or institutions starting with the letter “N” to “Z”
Example: Nativity of Our Lord to St. Zachary
Dates for Cycle C:
November 29, 2018 to December 2, 2019
If a person has received training and wishes to begin serving during the parish or institution's current term, their time of service is the remainder of that particular cycle.
Commissioning of Ministers of Care to the Sick
The “Rite of Commissioning Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion” can be found in Chapter 63 of the Book of Blessings (Roman Ritual, 1989). This can be used for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion at Mass or Ministers of Care.
How to Structure the Training for Ministers of Care to the Sick
In your care for this ministry, be reminded that only those who have received explicit delegation may be called upon to regularly assist with the distribution of Holy Communion to the sick and homebound. Those delegated may not begin their service until they have participated in a formation program that prepares them to understand this ministry and enriches their faith and appreciation of the Eucharist.
Structure of Programs
Parishes or institutions should exercise care to make sure their formation program for auxiliary ministers to the sick is designed to cover the six mandated topics listed below. Once a program has been completed, the pastor or chaplain of a parish or institution needs to submit names and addresses of the minister of care candidates and state that they have completed the program. These persons will then be officially mandated.
Parish training programs should be a minimum of twelve hours. They should be conducted by a qualified ordained, lay or religious facilitator and include at least the following six topics:
The Spirituality of the Minister
The Call to Ministry
Ecclesiastical Identify of the Minister
The Prayer Life of the Minister
The Experience of Suffering
Aging, Chronic Illness, Death and Dying
Special Pastoral Concerns, e.g. People living with HIV, Hospice Care, etc.
Pastoral Listening Skills
How to Listen and How to Respond
Theology of Suffering and Sickness
What does our Catholic Tradition teach us?
How do we communicate this to others?
Relating to the health care agency, hospice,
chaplain, family of the sick or homebound
Reviewing local hospital policies and
procedures for ministerial visits
Prayer and Sacraments
Theological Dimensions and Practical Administration
A Thorough Familiarity with Pastoral Care of the Sick
A Review of Eucharistic Theology
These sessions do not have to be given in the order shown above. The purpose of the outline is to list the areas that need to be covered in the training program.
Ministers of Care to the Sick are strongly encouraged to take advantage of additional formation and days of reflection to deepen their faith and reflect on their experience within this ministry.
Programs are offered periodically through the Office for Divine Worship and other groups of qualified individuals.
Mandating of Persons Who Complete a Basic Training Course
Pastors and those who coordinate Minister of Care Ministries in their parishes should request certificates and ID cards mandating individuals who have completed the initial training. This should be done in writing and on parish letterhead. Requests can be faxed to our office at 312.534.5158 and should contain the name of the individuals, the training location and program attended.
Letters for certificates and ID cards should be written to the attention of Mr. D. Todd Williamson, Director of the Office for Divine Worship.
Templates may also be provided, which parishes can use to make Certificates and ID cards for the pastor or chaplain’s signature and distribution.
Questions or requests for advice on designing basic Minister of Care programming or mandation information should be directed to:
Todd Williamson, Director
Office for Divine Worship
3525 South Lake Park Avenue
Chicago, IL 60653