The gospels reveal to us that Jesus’ ministry was a ministry of healing. Nearly 1/5 of the gospels are devoted to acts of healing, with more than 40 recorded instances of physical and mental healing. Christian ministry, by its nature, involves ministries of healing that strive for the well-being of the mind, body and spirit.
In May 1968, the Bishop of Toronto’s Commission on the Church’s Ministry of Healing noted:
“Health and healing are difficult to define, but health may be described as a condition of satisfactory functioning of the whole organism. The words health, wholeness and holiness are closely linked in origin. Healing may, therefore, be described as the process by which a living organism, whose functions are disordered, is restored to health or ‘made whole’; that is to say, returns to complete functioning. In a sense, all healing maybe considered to be Divine. Many aspects of healing are still outside our present knowledge, and this we should honestly and humbly admit.”
Healing is as much mystery as science. The experience and ministry of healing are as old as humanity itself. In the scientific 21st century, promoting the Church’s ministry of healing in the parish setting and in publicly funded institutions (hospitals, long-term care facilities and prisons) is one of the most challenging opportunities of living out our vision of building communities of hope and compassion.
Bishop’s Committee on Healing Ministries
The Bishop’s Committee on Healing Ministries is committed to education across the Diocese, providing speakers as requested for parishes, area days and workshops on a variety of topics related to healing in the Church.
In our Diocese
Those who’d like to minister in acts of healing need to be both trained and licensed in their specialized ministries. The Diocese lives out its ministry of healing in the following ways:
- The laying on of hands (currently restricted to ordained clergy)
- Anointing with oil: considered a sacramental act and restricted to either ordained clergy or licensed lay anointers
- Pastoral visiting: both generalized and specific therapeutic care offered by qualified clergy and lay pastoral visitors
- Faith community nursing: a growing field of specialized nursing that operates within a parish or faith community, promoting health, healing and wholeness
- Seniors’ ministry: equipping and supporting older adults in a fuller life with God