“Come, you who are blessed by my Father, take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world; 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.” (Matthew 25:34-40)
Such is Jesus’ teaching to us. All are called and equipped by God to minister together as a community of faith, tending to the concerns of those in need.
Lay pastoral visiting is a parish-based ministry, functioning under the supervision of the clergy. Trained parishioners visit members of the community to provide pastoral care and support to those who request it. Pastoral care involves activities that promote spiritual and religious health and well-being, including:
- supportive counselling
- constructive listening
- the ministry of presence
Becoming a lay pastoral visitor
To function as a lay pastoral visitor, you need to:
- have the support and recommendation of your parish clergy
- complete the appropriate screening process of the Responsible Ministry: Screening in Faith policy
- complete a lay pastoral training program supported by the Diocese
Experienced facilitators work with parishes interested in developing this ministry and provide training programs. A minimum group of eight is recommended. The programs can be adapted to the context and needs of the parish.