Ministers of Care bring the Word, prayer and Eucharist to fellow parishioners who are unable to attend Mass. The Archdiocese of Chicago requires that candidates for the Ministry attend a formal training program, which is offered each fall and spring. Upon completion of the program, new ministers of care are then trained individually by experienced ministers in the area of their interest.
The amount of time spent volunteering for the ministry varies and is dependent on the minister’s availability and the area of ministry, i.e., a minister may visit his/her home-bound person weekly, bi-weekly or once a month. Likewise, a hospital minister may minister only once a month, whereas a hospice minister may minister three to four times per month. All ministers of care are encouraged to attend continuing education lectures and seminars. There will be occasional meetings scheduled at the parish with regard to specific areas of the Ministry. Interviews for candidates for the Ministry are held in the months prior to the training session.
Homebound Ministers of Care
Do you know a friend, neighbor or relative who is no longer able to attend Mass?
Many of the people who are homebound participate in the Mass by watching the Mass on TV. But they are missing a key element by not being able to receive the Eucharist. We have a ministry which brings prayers and Communion to people who are homebound called “Ministry of Care” or MOC. Ministers of Care typically visit on a weekly basis and thereby bring the love and support of the community of St. Mary’s Church to them. All Ministers of Care have received archdiocesan training and participate in ongoing faith formation opportunities.
Hospital Ministry of Care
In response to an invitation by Advocate Condell Hospital in Libertyville, we have expanded our spiritual care of the sick & hospitalized. The Advocate Condell Hospital Ministers of Care bring Holy Communion to patients at Advocate Condell Hospital on a regular basis Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays each week beginning at 9:30AM. For hospital patients the reception of Holy Communion is not only a spiritual benefit as they partake of the Body & Blood of Christ, but it’s also a sign of support, comfort and concern shown by the Parish Community for its Members.
The Ministry of Care is one of the oldest ministries in Christianity. In the early Church, members would often celebrate the Eucharist -the Breaking of Bread – in the homes of the early Christians. If someone was unable to attend the service because of illness, a family member or close friend attending the service would be given a piece of the consecrated bread to bring to him/her, thereby not only bringing the healing power of Jesus but also reaffirming the absent individual as a member of the community. The only requirement was that both the minister and the recipient be baptized Christians. Over the years, the ministry became limited to priests and religious working primarily in hospitals and with the sick and so it remained for several centuries.
The renewal of this ministry allowing baptized laity to serve came with the reforms and good works of Vatican II. Following Vatican II, training for the ministry required up to a year of study and preparation for an individual to be deemed qualified to be a minister of care. Gradually, the training schedule was shortened to its present form. Today, the Archdiocese of Chicago requires the candidate for the ministry to attend an approved formal training program as a prerequisite for mandating as a Minister of Care.