St John of God…
“A true disciple of Christ your Son,
he generously fed the hungry, refreshed the thirsty, clothed the naked, visited the sick, welcomed wayfarers, comforted prisoners and cared for, and
supported, those who suffered.”
(Preface of the liturgy of St John of God)
… Through our service, to proclaim the hope of the Gospel.
… With the greatest respect for the convictions and beliefs of the sick, we help them to discover, through their suffering, the meaning of life for them.
The Pastoral Care of the Sick and the Social Pastoral Ministry have been the distinctive features identifying the Hospitaller Order from the very beginning. John of God showed a particular sensitivity to the provision of spiritual care to the people he welcomed into his hospital and the Order has continued in the same direction ever since. In recent decades the Pastoral Care of the Sick and the Social Pastoral Ministry has moved on from being focused more on “caring for souls” to a new model, in which pastoral care is carefully prepared and organised to be able to provide holistic personal care.
Our Constitutions remind us that the vocation we have received demands a special dedication to Pastoral Care which is expressed through the witness of our lives, the proclamation of the Word and the celebration of the sacraments.
We have always been known for the way we provide an all-inclusive service open to all, also in the field of Pastoral Care, showing the greatest possible respect for the convictions and beliefs of everyone, and providing spiritual care for our guests’ loved ones and the Co-workers in our Centres. It is by virtue of this same outreach that we are very careful to provide spiritual care for those who profess other faiths and to play an active part In the Pastoral Care of the Sick and the Social Pastoral Ministry of the local Churches in which we perform our mission.
As Brothers of St John of God we know that when we perform a good service to sick and needy people we are evangelising through Hospitality, and are witness of service as the proclamation of the Kingdom of God.
For Christians, the sacraments are an intense experience of communion with the Lord Jesus, and that through them Christ himself touches us with His grace. But the Pastoral Ministry must also open up to an evangelising dimension, reaching out to different situations and respecting the pathway that people’s own lives are taking. We have therefore planned a differentiated and high-calibre form of Pastoral Ministry, in which accompaniment plays a major part, as a means of serving personal growth and spiritual development.
It is this experience that led to the drafting of a Pastoral Care document for the whole Order, laying down the main thrusts of the pastoral ministry in practice, in the manner of Saint John of God.
With the guidance of this document a fresh boost has been given to Pastoral Care in our Centres in relation both to their organisation and to the way be open up to the spiritual dimension of the guests, respectful of religious pluralism. According to this new model of Pastoral Care the laity have been incorporated into our pastoral teams and the presence of people with appropriate training committed to providing spiritual and religious care is now becoming a reality in our Centres. We are continuing to take up the challenge to open up new paths for the proclamation of the Good News of the Kingdom, paying particular care to the different environments in which that proclamation has to take place in practice.
We are on the move, along the pathway of life and of the Church. We must not hark back nostalgically to the past, but pay particular attention to the present, seeking at all times the well-being of the people for whom we care and looking hopefully forward to the future. The spiritual and religious care service can therefore make a valuable contribution to our own model of holistic care.
The Order has placed a wager on this embodied form of Pastoral Care and is dedicating people and resources to it. The General Chapter asked us to work more intensely on a regional basis, and this also has repercussions on the Pastoral Care of the Sick and the Social Pastoral Ministry, with the setting-up of reflection groups in the Order’s four Regions, coordinated by the General Curia, by a team channelling different synergistic forces to enable us to make progress in this exciting task of proclaiming the Kingdom with a style of our own – the style of Saint John of God.
General Commission on Pastoral Care of the Sick and the Social Pastoral Ministry
General objective: To steer and foster pastoral care in our Provinces and Centres according to the General Curia’s Pastoral Care Document.
In the pursuit of the General Objective of the Commission, the following operational objectives have been laid down to be developed over the Sexennium:
- to become acquainted with the pastoral situation in different Regions, and supporting their initiatives
- to provide support in order to implant the General Curia’s Pastoral Care Document
- to take part in providing formation for, and promoting Pastoral Care at the level of the Church
- to foster Pastoral Care formation in our Centres
- to continue encouraging reflection on and the study of pastoral and spiritual matters shared by the whole Order
- to foster cooperation between our Spiritual and Religious Care services and the local and/or diocesan Church, and to cooperate with other Religious Congregations.
- To take part in Pastoral Care formation and promotion at the level of the Church.
The General Definitory decided to establish the Commission on the Pastoral Care of the Sick and the Social Pastoral Ministry for the Sexennium 2011 –2018, appointing the following members to it:
- Bro. Benigno Ramos
- Bro. André Sène(Secretary)
- Bro. Gustavo Muchiutti (America Region)
- Mrs Susana Queiroga (Europe Region)
- Bro. Joseph Yanka Sharma (Asia-Pacific region)
- Bro. John Oppong (Africa region)