BRISBANE archdiocese’s pastoral care ministry has received a shot in the arm with a donation of $12,000 towards scholarships.
The donation is already training 12 new pastoral carers with a further 12 scholarships available in 2013.
About 80 pastoral carers minister in more than 30 hospitals around the archdiocese.
Centacare Pastoral Ministries director Fr John Chalmers said “up to three inquiries a day are being received” in the lead-up to the October 19 deadline for next year’s applications.
The scholarship is for the Certificate in Spiritual Care Program being offered by the Multifaith Academy for Chaplaincy and Community Ministries.
“This wonderful donation is already supporting twelve new pastoral carers in their studies,” Fr Chalmers said.
“They started their studies at Canossa Hospital in February this year and are due to graduate at St John’s Cathedral in November.
“All have found their studies most enriching.
“Only one out of the thirteen who started the year has been unable to complete the course so far, and that was because of ill health.”
Those in the current group come from a diverse range of backgrounds including an accountant, a professional photographer, a Mercy Sister as well as parents and grandparents.
Educational backgrounds are diverse with one woman having a Master in Theology. Ages range from 26 into the mid-60s.
Fr Chalmers said those successful in gaining scholarships for 2013 would also have placements in Wesley, Royal Brisbane, Prince Charles, St Andrew’s and Princess Alexandra hospitals.
He said those selected would undergo the usual rigorous selection process.
“Criteria include spiritual awareness, spiritual practice, pastoral gifts, scriptural literacy, ability to work as part of a team, and religious tolerance,” he said.
“A key personal attribute is the capacity to listen to people.”
Those completing the course are also required to commit to a half-day on a pastoral care team at a designated hospital for three years.
Fr Chalmers said the program comprised two semesters of 20 weeks with diverse elements including an introduction to using Scripture as a resource for pastoral care, the understanding of grief theory, health care ethics and ministry, and the preparation of at least one ecumenical service.
Retreats are also on the program. The latest held at Canossa Hospital last week considered Vatican II and its implications for pastoral practice.
Those interested in a scholarship in the Certificate in Spiritual Care Program can contact Fr Chalmers at firstname.lastname@example.org