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Guidelines - How to Structure The Training for Ministers of Care to the Sick


Delegation: In your care for this ministry please 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 great 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.

Topics Covered
: 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:

A. The Spirituality of the Minister
         The Call to Ministry
         Ecclesiastical Identify of the Minister 
         The Prayer Life of the Minister

B. The Experience of Suffering:
        Aging, Chronic Illness, Death and Dying
        Special Pastoral Concerns,
        e.g. People living with HIV, Hospice Care, etc.

C. Pastoral Listening Skills:
         How to Listen and How to Respond

D. Theology of Suffering and Sickness:
         What does our Catholic Tradition teach us?
         How do we communicate this to others?

E. Ministerial Procedures:
         Relating to the health care agency, hospice,
         chaplain, family of the sick  or homebound
         Reviewing local hospital policies and
         procedures for ministerial visits

F. 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.

Additional Formation: 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.

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 S. Lake Park
Chicago, IL60462 1101
Phone: 312-534.5153
Fax: 312.534.5158



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