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.
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 send to our Office of Divine Worship 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. Agatha to Good Shepherd and Epiphany
Dates for Cycle A: December 1, 2019 to November 26, 2022
Cycle B: Parishes or institutions starting with letter “H” through “M”
Example: St. Hedwig to Mother Theodore Guerin
Dates for Cycle B: November 29, 2018 to November 27, 2021
Cycle C: Parishes or institutions starting with the letter “N” to “Z”
Example: Nativity of Our Lord to St. Zachary
Dates for Cycle C: December 2, 2018 to November 27, 2021
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.
In an attempt to standardize all training in the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Office for Divine Worship is asking that when training Extraordinary ministers of Care for the parish, religious community or institution, ALL ministers in the Archdiocese of Chicago be trained according to this program in English and Spanish.
All ministers should receive a copy of “Handbook for Ministers of Care” second edition, published by Liturgy Training Publications, of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Information on how to order these manuals can be found here.
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