Welcomes and farewells for hospital chaplains

hospital chaplains

Last Friday at the Pompallier Centre in Auckland, Sister Jane O’Carroll (Bishop Dunn’s pastoral assistant) hosted a ceremony to commission three new hospital chaplains and farewell two long-serving ones.

Fr Talipope Vaifale, Elaine Harvey and Marcelles Amiatu were commissioned by Monsignor Bernard Kiely, vicar general of the Catholic diocese of Auckland.

The event was well attended by colleagues who took part in the para-liturgy by handing those being commissioned the symbols of their office.

Interchurch Council for Hospital Chaplaincy (ICHC) Regional Chaplain Rev Julian Perkins read a Gospel passage.

Sr Alei Leilua and Fr Christopher Brady were farewelled. They had served for 5 and for 10 years respectively.

Commending the dedication of the assembled chaplains, Kiely said it seemed to him that running shoes were the necessary footwear for hard-working chaplains.

Even in a hospital setting, they travel great distances to bring comfort and reassurance.

In 1996, the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference became a foundation signatory of the Trust that established the ICHC.

At its heart, ICHC is an ecumenical association of major Christian churches who work in collaboration to minister to patients and their families who, because of illness, are required to stay in hospital.

ICHC negotiates with the Ministry of Health on behalf of all member churches and appoints and manages all non-Catholic hospital chaplains.

Catholic appointments are made by each Diocese in collaboration with ICHC.

There is a small number of priests around the country who are permanently assigned to a major hospital; they also have parish duties to fulfill.

All other Diocesan priests are committed to providing 24/7 support for Catholic patients who are in imminent danger of dying.

Most Catholic hospital chaplains are lay-people who have been trained and commissioned by their Bishop to spend time with Catholic patients and their families and pray familiar prayers.

They work in close collaboration with either a designated priest chaplain or a local parish to ensure access to Holy Communion and, where necessary, other Sacraments of the Church.

Catholic lay chaplains are also required to be available for ministry to all patients in the hospital and enjoy a constructive relationship with their non-Catholic colleagues.

“If you or a family member are to be in hospital and would like to be visited by a chaplain, then it is often easier to advise the parish office in advance rather than rely on the hospital notification which is often complicated by Privacy Act considerations,” says senior Catholic hospital chaplain Tony Lenton.

He said “People may think that some sacraments of the Church, especially Anointing of the Sick, are reserved for the dying but in fact, they are available to all who wish to prepare spiritually and emotionally for what will be a worrying time. Again, discussion with your parish office is advised.”

To contact a hospital Chaplain or to get further information visit: https://www.catholic.org.nz/find-us/chaplancies/#section_72


  • Supplied: Tony Lenton
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News category: New Zealand.

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