“For all who are sick, do not lose hope
especially when your suffering is at its worst. Christ is near you.”
EXTENDING THE HAND OF SUPPORT
Chaplaincy Sunday celebrates the compassionate face of the Church as it immerses itself in the human stories of brokenness. Our lay Chaplains walk with people in the experience of illness and hospitalisation; with people living with the stigma and isolation of HIV/AIDS; with the residents who are imprisoned in the 15 prisons scattered across the state; and with young people in Youth Justice Centres.
The 2019 Melbourne Catholic Archbishop’s Charitable Fund – Chaplaincy Sunday Appeal, is focused on health care chaplaincy. Health
care chaplains offer emotional, spiritual and sacramental support to patients and their families in Melbourne’s major public hospitals, as well as hospitals in regional Victoria. Parishioners are encouraged to offer prayers and a financial donation to help provide continued spiritual and emotional comfort to families facing illness, pain, grief and death.
Our health care chaplains work as part of an interfaith network, working alongside chaplains from many other faith groups.
Please donate now
AS LIFE DRAWS TO A
Rosa* was an elderly lady of Italian background, with two
daughters. Over many years she had multiple admissions to the Royal Melbourne Hospital,
and with each stay she was visited by our dedicated Catholic chaplains.
As a devout Catholic, Rosa received regular sacramental
ministry and prayer from the hospital chaplain, but her last stay was
different. As Rosa’s health deteriorated, the purpose of pastoral care support
was to create an environment in which she maintained the best possible quality
of life, while dying peacefully.
On the day prior to Rosa’s passing, it was of course the family
that required support. During the 18 long difficult days of keeping vigil, they
had faced moments of conflict and were struggling with fatigue and exhaustion.
The turning point of this pastoral encounter was the
family’s ability to pray the common prayers; a daily part of their mother’s
life and routine. With assistance and guidance, they quickly re-learnt the
simple, but important rituals that enabled them to connect and engage as a
family in a profound and loving way. This time to stop and reflect helped ease
their grief and pain.
Rosa died the following morning.
The journey to death is a sacred time. In this pastoral
encounter the spiritual care dimension enhanced the journey of dying by
providing a comfortable and safe place for the family.
The role of chaplaincy amplified this through the powerful
use of actions such as symbol, ritual and prayer. One of these actions in
particular, the Sacrament of Anointing (known commonly as the Last Rites)
brought compassion so that the patient and the family did not lose hope. The
family were taken to a place of being at peace with their faith and with each
*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of our staff and client.