“When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me.”
This Sunday we celebrate Chaplaincy Sunday across the Archdiocese of Melbourne and we are invited to financially support the work of the Chaplaincy programs as they support the most vulnerable people in our community.
Chaplaincy services support thousands of Victorians every year in hospitals, prisons, and youth justice centres, and those living with HIV/AIDS. Each day Chaplains faithfully meet the emotional and spiritual needs of the isolated and marginalised in our community by providing pastoral and spiritual support through all stages of life.
Hospital Chaplains support patient and their families in Melbourne’s major public hospitals, as well as hospitals in regional Victoria. The experience of being in hospital can often mean being surrounded by fear, pain and despair. For many patients and their families, this can mean a time of heightened anxiety and stress. Chaplains pray with patients and provide emotional support to them and their loved ones, offering a chance for them to speak openly, discuss their thoughts and worries and find a sense of calm among a stressful and emotional time in their lives. Hospital Chaplains support patients and their families through their illness and can support them through loss, grief, or times of uncertainty. During 2021, Hospital Chaplains attended to 4,682 episodes of care across eight major public hospitals including The Royal Melbourne, The Royal Women’s, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, The Royal Children’s, Northern Health, Alfred Health, Monash Health, and Barwon Health University Hospital Geelong.
Prison Chaplains visit every prison and correction in Victoria, offering emotional, spiritual and sacramental support to residents. During prison visitation, Chaplains listen, connect and endeavour to understand and comfort people who may otherwise feel lost or abandoned. They support them through arranging weekly Mass and prayer service, providing spiritual readings and symbols of Catholic faith, helping new arrivals adjust to their surroundings and advocating for their needs. Prison Chaplains visit maximum, medium and minimum-security prisons and meet the residents in all areas of the prison including those in solitary confinement. They also support the residents’ family members or significant people in their lives.
Youth Justice Chaplains provide pastoral support to young people in youth custodial centres. They provide accompaniment, and emotional and spiritual support for young people who are at a particularly vulnerable in their lives. Chaplains can help young people in custodial centres to feel less alone, to show them that they are worthy of support and care, to provide them with a sense of hope and help them discover their identity as they journey along a difficult path. Youth Justice Chaplains also play a role in advocating for the dignity of young people, within the youth justice system and across the broader community.
People living with HIV/AIDS will often experience discrimination and/or social isolation. This Ministry provides a place of healing and community for people who are living with HIV/AIDS, where they are able to share their story with others who understand them and help them to feel less alone. Chaplains respond with hospitality and care offering practical, spiritual, and emotional support to help improve their wellbeing and also connects people with helpful and relevant supports and services. In addition, they also advocate for people living with HIV/AIDS by conducting community education in schools, parishes and other community group settings.
A special collection will be taken up at all Masses across our parishes this weekend. Limited appeal envelopes are available. If you would like a receipt, please ensure you complete the details on the envelope before enclosing your donation.
Your support and generosity will ensure that Catholic Chaplains can continue to be the messengers of God’s mercy, love and compassion.
To learn more about Chaplaincy Services call (03) 9287 5513 or donate online.
By Kate Baines