Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 15, 2003
Pastoral care workers graduate
Archdiocese creats base of knowledge
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Helping people cope with the dark despair of loneliness and grief is one reason Cindy Horyza has dedicated her life to minister to the less fortunate.
After recently moving to Fort Saskatchewan from Fort St. John, B.C., Horyza enrolled in the archdiocese's first pastoral care visitors' certificate program organized by the Family Enrichment Centre.
Now the former RCMP Victim Services manager is eager to share her gifts with her new community.
"In Fort St. John, I was very active in pastoral care in the North, and in my church," Horyza said. "I know how important it is to be able to minister and do God's work - to help others who are less fortunate."
In Fort St. John, Horyza was on call as manager of the victim services unit. "God has called me from as far back as I can remember to serve and help people."
The program is an effort by the archdiocese to establish a base level of education for everyone doing pastoral care in the archdiocese, says John MacDonald, director of the Family Enrichment Centre.
During the first two offerings, a total of 37 participants graduated Dec. 4 during a simple ceremony in the Catholic Pastoral Centre's chapel.
"We have prepared a program of 15 classroom hours that covers six basic components, including spirituality and care giving, sacraments, communication skills, loss and grief, ethics as well as reaching out to the community," MacDonald said. "I'd say the majority of the participants are retired and semi-retired people who have the time. But there are some young people who are active in parish ministry who are involved in this program."
A year of preparation by a committee whose members came from many aspects of the caring profession helped to form the program based on three general areas - nursing care, livelihood needs and pastoral care.
Some "post-graduate" programs will be offered in the new year for anyone who is interested in taking on even more responsibilities such as supervision or organizing pastoral care in their own parish.
Eucharistic ministry is being done separately because not everyone in pastoral care becomes a Eucharistic minister. But it is available for anyone who is interested, MacDonald said.
"In the new year, more of the pastoral care training will be steered toward the parishes. The idea is that the demographic realm of the Church might be considered even more effectively.
"It would be relevant to those nursing homes, those hospitals - if there is one in the area - so that some of the pastoral care particularly suits the community. It would then be a little different for each community."
Any given parish can have 15 to 20 people involved in pastoral care - even more with the larger churches, MacDonald speculated.
Sister Mary Laurene Bradley, a Sister of St. Joseph of London, taught the inaugural course. She was thrilled to hand the graduates their certificates.
"It was super. I get so enthusiastic about it because people are so wanting to learn," she said. Bradley was a committee member who helped put the program together. She is also involved with Project Rachel as well as grief workshops out of the Family Enrichment Centre.
MacDonald believes there is movement afoot to expand the program so that areas outside Edmonton can hold training sessions. "The facilitator we have is very willing to train other facilitators, perhaps out of the city to rural areas like Red Deer, Lloydminster or Hinton."