What is Spiritual Care? What is Pastoral Care?

Spiritual or pastoral care can be described as “intentional friendship.” A pastoral or spiritual “carer” offers a friendship that is intentionally seeking to “walk with you along your path”. Its focus is on emotional support and spiritual care. Spiritual Care is intensely personal, one-on-one outreach, regardless of faith tradition or religious beliefs. It takes courage and sensitivity to stand with someone in their hour of need.

In difficult and demanding times such as a critical illness or other traumas in life, we may experience high stress, reducing our ability to cope. At these times the help of others may be very valuable. Family members and friends are often a very important support, but sometimes the presence of a person who is more emotionally detached from the situation can be very helpful.

Pastoral Care is also described as an “art” and the term “simple  presence” is frequently used. When we are allowed to be present, in that sacred place of a person’s suffering, our ‘Simple Presence’ is the most important gift. Within that presence we are to listen and really hear what is said and what is left unsaid. We are simply to share the burden and, with the help of God’s Divine Presence, help to make the bearing of the burden a little less difficult.