The week of October 20-26, 2019
represents 34 years of celebrating
Pastoral Care Week.
Pastoral Care Week is a time of both celebration and education. Organizations and institutions throughout the world will recognize the pastoral care providers and the pastoral care given through professional chaplaincy and pastoral counseling within our communities. The theme, “Hospitality: Cultivating Space” offers a rich opportunity to develop relationships and extend hospitality to those who extend pastoral care, to those who collaborate with pastoral care providers and to those who are the recipients of pastoral care.
Pastoral care has been an important part of our society’s well-being since humanity sought meaning and connection in its life together. Religions and communities have valued its supportive influence. Hospitality as welcome and nurture requires space for people to feel free and accepted. As cultivation requires ground with which to work, the holy ground of creation is a wonderful starting point. This year's theme might have some thinking of Community Gardens - a shared space where communities grow together as they grow together. Pastoral care takes seriously the meaningful nature of the space in which we live - its physical realities and its metaphorical meaning. Thus, there is value in providing space where one can feel safe and sheltered, space that allows dignity and creativity and spaces where reflection and worship enrich well-being and humanity.
The offering of space can involve silence. A person can find silence in one’s space and likewise one can create space in silence. Cultivating space can be an opportunity to create something where there was once nothingness. What a person does with his or her space is personal be it reflective or shared. When space is cultivated, it is dug out, set aside, nurtured for a purpose. If someone allows you into that space it is an invitation where silence can speak and meaning can be fostered. May this year’s focus bless you with space to offer careful spirituality.
Pastoral Care Week is supported by the COMISS Network: The Network on Ministry in Specialized Settings (COMISS). COMISS members provide care in specialized settings such as hospitals, prisons, businesses, industries, long-term care facilities, pastoral counseling centers, hospices, military settings, nursing homes, corporations, congregations of sisters, priests and brothers, schools and universities throughout the world. Among the variety of celebrations will be hand-blessing ceremonies for health workers; open houses; poetry jams by clients; lecture series and luncheons. Many resources are available, including governmental proclamations, artwork, and merchandise, at www.spiritualcareweek.org or www.pastoralcareweek.org.