The role of a chaplain is to be involved with other people to provide holistic care, which incorporates their emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. Chaplaincy is very much in keeping with our Capuchin Franciscan ethos and values. As Chaplains we stand with those we are often experiencing great difficulty and turmoil. We bring with us to this role our charism of Fraternity by which we are present to those in need and to their families.
Currently, in Ireland, we minister as Chaplains in hospital, hospice, workplace and educational settings.
Illness, especially chronic or terminal illness, causes isolation and anxiety and often, at these times, people call into question what they believe and why they believe it. Hospital can be a very daunting and scary place for many people and so, as Capuchin Friars, we aim to walk with patients as they face, what may be, an uncertain future for them and their families. Chaplains also provide valuable support to staff working in these facilities who, on a daily basis, sacrifice themselves for the well-being and good of others. This sacrifice can take its toll and so the Chaplain is there to help them navigate their way through these challenges. Today we minister as full and part-time Chaplains to hospitals in Dublin, Cork and Kilkenny and are committed to making present to those who suffer the healing presence of Jesus Christ.
The vision of the Irish Hospice Foundation is that ‘nobody should face death or bereavement without the care and support that they need’ and the mission of the hospice movement is to ‘achieve dignity, comfort and choice for all those facing the end of life’. The role of the Chaplain is central to the realisation of this vision and mission. As Capuchins, following in the footsteps of St Francis of Assisi, who ministered personally to the dying, we feel a special bond with this type of ministry, which calls for a gentle and humble presence.
Currently we have Friars serving as full time Chaplains with St Francis Hospice in Raheny and Blanchardstown, Dublin as well as in Marymount Hospice, Cork. The Friars in these roles often speak of the great privilege it is for them to minister in this way and to be in a position of accompany a dying person, and their family, through their final days and hours.
One of our unique Chaplaincies is to Dublin Port. We have held this role for many years and it offers a unique opportunity to minister to people in a working environment. Many people work and pass through Dublin Port, each with their own unique set of concerns. Some may have travelled across the world on a container ship and find themselves far away from home and family for many months. Often English is not their first language which can lead to greater feelings of isolation or they can face issues such as addiction, bereavement or inadequate conditions on board the vessel. The Chaplaincy Service at Dublin Port provides religious services, a drop in facility (St Vincent de Paul Seafarers Club) and support to those who need it.
Blanchardstown Shopping Centre
At the Yellow entrance to Blanchardstown Shopping Centre is ‘The Oratory’ a haven of prayer, peace and support in the midst of the marketplace. The Oratory is a ‘One Stop Shop’ providing services to those who visit the Centre as well as to those from the surrounding area, 7 days a week. We see the Oratory as the integration of faith and commerce where in God has a place within the modern marketplace. It stands as a beacon of the Transcendent within a highly commercial setting providing a rest-bite and counter witness to all who visit there. Daily Mass is packed to capacity and the ministry is support by a very dedicated team of volunteers. For more information on the work and mission of the Oratory visit http://www.theoratory.org/
Our Friars serve as Chaplains in both second and third level education primarily in St Francis School, Roachestown, Cork and University College Cork. The educational Chaplain provides accompaniment, faith development, a listening ear, support, encouragement and guidance. Going through second and third level education can be a complex mix of emotions, challenges and disappointments as the young person seeks to carve out their identity and vision. The Chaplain is there with them in good times and bad providing the support that they need. They also have a role to promote and sustain the Catholic faith within their respective institutions, which can, in today’s world, be increasingly difficult. The Chaplain has a particular role in facilitating the young person’s holistic development as they journey towards maturity.