Pastoral Care can help “restore our soul” (Psalm 23) in times of need so that we may continue on life’s journey, following Jesus our Good Shepherd. This care is provided in many ways by all Christians for each other, led by the Dean and other Clergy and assisted by lay people who are particularly gifted or trained in pastoral ministries.
When to Call a Member of the Clergy
• When someone is near death or has died.
• When someone is ill or hospitalized.
• When someone is distressed and needs pastoral care.
• When someone is in need of prayer.
• When someone wants to discuss spiritual or theological matters.
• When someone has reason to celebrate or to share a thanksgiving (birth, engagement, etc.).
• When you would like to talk or pray about a difficult decision.
• When someone just wants to talk to a clergy person.
During regular office hours, the clergy can be contacted through the Cathedral Office at (814) 452-3779. In times of pastoral crisis or emergency call (814) 314-9439 at any hour of the day or night, seven days a week. Such calls are top priority for the Clergy, who will respond as quickly as possible. Please do not assume that the Clergy are “too busy” for such calls, or that they will be notified in some other way.
The Cathedral Clergy regularly visit those who are hospitalized. In the case of an extended hospital stay, a Clergy or lay Eucharistic Visitor is available to bring Communion. Since hospitals do not notify the Cathedral when members are admitted it is important to inform the Clergy directly so that they may plan their visits in a timely manner.
A prayer list is published in the Sunday liturgy bulletin. Only first names are included for the sake of greater privacy. Please let the Cathedral Office know if you wish to have a name added to the list and also when to remove it. You are also welcome to ask the Clergy to pray about matters that you prefer remain private and confidential.
Home Visits and Communion
When illness or other circumstances leave people homebound and unable to attend worship, the Cathedral Clergy and trained Lay Eucharistic Visitors are glad to bring Holy Communion from the Cathedral Altar on Sundays or other times. Please contact the Cathedral Office or Clergy to arrange for this ministry.
God’s will is for wholeness in our living and dying. Healing comes in many forms and in many ways, from the medical professions to prayer. Clergy are authorized to provide the sacramental rite of Laying on of Hands and Anointing. Such spiritual healing can have an impact on the body, mind, and emotions, bringing comfort to those in need of it and to those who care for them. This sacramental form of healing can be received at many points throughout life and at the time of death. The Clergy are happy to offer this ministry upon request.
A House Blessing may be as simple as a general blessing for a new residence, or it may include moving from room to room to offer appropriate blessings for each space. Guests may be invited, refreshments provided and Holy Eucharist celebrated in the home. Contact the Clergy to plan this joyful service.
Thanksgiving for the Birth or Adoption of a Child
A brief but beautiful service of Thanksgiving for the Birth or Adoption of a Child may be celebrated in the hospital or home, or at the Cathedral in the context of one of the regular worship services.
Reconciliation of a Penitent (Private Confession)
While a congregational Confession of Sin is a regular part of public liturgies in the Episcopal Church, there are times when someone wishes to make a private confession in the presence of a priest, seeking counsel and absolution. In the Anglican tradition, such a confession is a pastoral matter focused on those things which are troubling the conscience, rather than an attempt to enumerate all sins. Some will seek this ministry for urgent need, others as a matter of spiritual practice, although no one is ever required to make use of this rite. In all cases, the confidentially of confession is a moral absolute for the priest.
Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual Direction
The pastoral ministry of all Clergy includes pastoral conversations which seek to “restore the soul.” However, most Clergy are not trained for ongoing and deep counseling or spiritual direction. Recommendations and referrals to trained counselors and spiritual directors may be made from time to time. According to Church policy, Clergy may not meet with someone more than three consecutive times on the same pastoral “topic” before making a referral to a trained professional.
Safeguarding and Confidentiality
All our Clergy are trained in “safeguarding” practices regarding abuse and misconduct in ministerial relationships. Confidentiality is practiced in pastoral conversations, though Clergy may seek the counsel of colleagues or supervisors in order to provide better care. Clergy and other recognized pastoral ministers are mandated reporters in matters of suspected abuse. However, the confidentiality of sacramental confession is absolute.