Training for Pastoral Visitors
“for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “When did we see you hungry and feed you; thirsty and find you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or in need of clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go visit you?” Jesus will reply, “I tell you the truth; whatever you did for the least of these my sisters and brothers, you did for me”
Such is Jesus’ teaching to us, his Church. All are called and equipped by God to minister together as a community of faith, tending to the concerns of those who are in need.
Lay pastoral visiting is that ministry which is parish-based, functioning under the supervision of the clergy, where trained parishioners visit members of the parish or community, providing pastoral care and support to those who request it. Pastoral care is understood to involve those activities which promote spiritual and religious health and well-being. Such activities can include prayer, supportive counselling, constructive listening, and the ministry of presence.
To function as a lay pastoral visitor, individuals must:
Have the support and recommendation of their parish clergy.
Complete the appropriate screening process (Safe Church).
Complete a Lay Pastoral Training program supported by the Diocese.
Lay pastoral training programs have been developed by experienced facilitators who work with parishes interested in the development of such a ministry and are scheduled to meet the needs of the parish. It is recommended that a minimum group of eight is required in order to support a training program. Training programs can be modified to the context and needs of the parish.