To oversee and support qualified chaplains for the giving of pastoral care in the hospitals: to provide material for the screening and supervision of volunteers in this area of ministry; and, to develop healthy working relationships and collaborate with parish pastoral care teams, St. Joseph Health Care Society, parish nurses, deacons, volunteers, and chaplains working in the various health care facilities throughout the Diocese.
This ministry works collaboratively with 29 hospitals and 94 long-term care facilities with more than 14,000 beds. Chaplain teams in both Windsor and London have been solidified since 2009. The ministry works with the deaneries to address hospital and long-term care issues, distribute brochures and to provide workshops for the training of pastoral care visitors for hospitals and LTCs.
A deacon writes, “My involvement in ministry at Met Hospital in Windsor has developed from wondering what I am doing here to having a difficult time leaving because of people stopping me and wanting to talk. This covers a variety of subjects, from a belief in God to prayer requests. The most satisfying part of this ministry is the look on the face of the people when they recognize me and make the connection to our parish and the people of God. One man told me it was great to see someone he knew from the parish (he died about two weeks later). The physical presence in the hospitals is a sign that Church life goes beyond the doors of the building in which we worship, and into the lives of people. It is particularly important in times of crisis, such as when death is imminent, for both the patient and their family.”
Brenda was admitted with respiratory distress. She had always attended church with her family, but as an outsider. Over her extended stay at the hospital she requested Baptism, then Holy Communion and Confirmation. She was also able to talk freely about her impending death and its effect on her family. Brenda died at home one week after her release from Victoria Hospital in full communion with her church and at peace with her God and her family.
Joe had been admitted with extensive trauma to the lower half of his body following a tragic industrial accident. We journeyed with the family every step of the way and were with them the night he died. Thirteen months later his widow came across the business card of one of our chaplains and sought grief counseling.
Gordon was admitted and clearly indicated that he was a non-practicing Catholic. When his surgery was delayed, we continued to visit with Gordon and his wife, building a good relationship. We never pushed prayer on them. As Christmas approached, he began to ask for a prayer at the end of each visit. On the Friday after Christmas he and his wife attended Mass in the chapel. When surgery came he was well prepared and recuperated quickly.