Health Care Ministry Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is health care ministry? 
A: Health care ministry flows directly from the Gospel and Jesus' example of compassionate concern for the sick and vulnerable. Catholic pastoral caregivers serve as visible expressions of the presence of God and the care of the Church during the experience of illness.
Q: Who are health care ministers? 
A: Professional health care ministers are priests, deacons, religious sisters and brothers, and lay women and men who serve as chaplains and pastoral health care ministers in: acute care hospitals, long term care institutions, rehabilitation hospitals, hospices, other health care settings and parishes.
Q: What is the role of pastoral health care ministry in the parish? 
A: The parish is the primary provider of pastoral outreach to the sick, the homebound, nursing home residents and the terminally ill through visitation, prayer and the sacraments. This pastoral care is generally shared by parish staff members and parish volunteers who serve as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and/or Pastoral Visitors.
Q: How does the Office of Parish Outreach Ministries/Health Care Ministry support parish health care ministry? 
A: The Office of Parish Outreach Ministries/Health Care Ministry provides information and consultation to parishes. It presently is involved in projects to assist parishes to:

  • Support the ministry of parish pastoral visitation volunteers 
  •  Extend sacramental care and pastoral outreach to Catholic residents of nursing homes 
  •  Provide supportive care to the terminally ill and their loved ones 
  •  Establish collaborative ministry in hospitals not served by a chaplain