Pastoral Care

Pastoral Care in Health and Aged Care

A Prayer During the COVID 19 Crisis (PDF)

Catholic health and aged care services strive to give witness to a deep reverence for human life. The hallmark of a Catholic approach to care is the awareness of the spiritual nature of the person and the integral role this has in holistic healing. The many ways of attending to spiritual concerns and issues that arise alongside the physical is the domain of pastoral care.

Quality pastoral care is foundational to Catholic health and aged care.  It is not an optional extra: to be a provider of Catholic health and aged care requires pastoral care to be part of all that we do.

Pastoral Care Research

CHA supports efforts to improve and increase research into pastoral care within health aged and community care.  CHA has hosted two pastoral care forums with a research theme (2015 and 2016).  CHA is also a supporter of research efforts going on within the Catholic health and aged care sector.  One such endeavour is the Pastoral Care Research Collaboration being led by the Australian Catholic University (ACU).  The Pastoral Care Research Collaboration is a multidisciplinary group of researchers that seeks to contribute to the body of evidence on the benefits of pastoral care to patients, staff and families.  CHA is a partner of this collaboration.  For more information, see:

Pastoral Care - academic courses available in Australia

CHA has produced a summary of the theology/ministry/pastoral care academic courses that may be of interest to Pastoral Practitioners and others working in pastoral care related roles who are looking to enhance or extend their academic qualifications.  The following summary includes a section on the known courses provided by Catholic academic institutions and also includes a section summarising the available courses from other mainstream universities and institutions.  A copy is available to download. The summary can be updated so if you know of any other courses, please let Dr Anthony Gooley (CHA Manager Mission Services) know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Results of the 2015 -16 Pastoral Care Mapping Survey:

In 2015 Catholic Health Australia (CHA) conducted a pastoral care mapping survey of the Catholic health and aged care sector. The completed surveys represented 85 percent of Catholic hospital beds and 60 percent of Catholic provided residential aged care beds and community care places in Australia.

1.7 Pastoral Care Survey Report COVERBased on the survey findings, CHA has prepared:

  • A full report with an analysis of each of the questions together with an executive summary, the key findings and recommendations.  For FREE download (please click here to download). 
  • A short report which provides the executive summary and the key findings and recommendations.  For FREE download (please click here to download). 
  • A pastoral care assessment tool. This tool has been developed so that the recommendations coming out of the pastoral care mapping survey can be used by individuals, teams and organisations as a way of recognising strengths and determining areas for improvement. This tool is available for FREE download (please click here to download). 

CHA pastoral care publications:

CHA has produced a number of publications to support pastoral care work in the Catholic health and aged care sector.

Welcome, Inclusion, Attentive Presence: the Central Role of Pastoral Care in Catholic Health and Aged Care

Author: Professor Maryanne Confoy rsc

This publication traces how pastoral care in Catholic health and aged care sits within a long tradition stretching back to the healing ministry of Jesus and the early Christian church, and was carried forward through the charism of the religious orders that established many of our present day Catholic hospitals and aged care services.  While discussing the history and origins of pastoral care, the purpose of the document is to look to the future—the “why, what, and where we are heading” in pastoral care. Please follow this link to download the order form.

On Being Pastoral

Authors: Patrick McArdle, PhD  and Anne Tuohy, PhD 

This is an easy to read resource for staff formation and education. It offers a refreshing yet confirming series of insights into the pastoral dynamic at the heart of a healing and caring relationship. Please follow this link to download the order form.

Pastoral Services in Catholic Health, Community and Aged Care: Contemporary Practice

This publication seeks to highlight to all who work in Catholic health, community and aged care the value this ministry and these practitioners bring not just to the patients, residents and clients but to their families, carers, staff and, indeed, the spirit of the facility itself. This publication provides a greater insight into and understanding of the unique value pastoral services brings to our ministry of healing. Please follow this link to download the order form.

>Ministering to People with Dementia: A Pastoral Guide

This guide produced by Catholic Health Australia in cooperation with Alzheimer's Australia, is a practical handbook for the spiritual care of people with dementia. The guide has been written expressly for those working in parish settings to assist in the provision of spiritual care of parishioners with dementia both at home and in residential care within the local community. Please follow this link to download the order form.

Provision of Palliative Care in Catholic Health and Aged Care Services

This book guides staff through the complex world of delivering effective and holistic patient-centred, interdisciplinary palliative care. It is accompanied by a brochure for patients and their families translated into three languages. Available for FREE download.

Catholic Health Australia has implemented a range of initiatives to support members as they seek to provide pastoral services for patients, residents and their families.

CHA Pastoral Care Special Interest Group

The CHA Pastoral Care Special Interest Group (PCSIG) is convened under the auspices of the CHA Mission & Identity Committee to provide a member perspective and support to CHA on the issues arising around the provision of quality pastoral services across the Catholic health and aged care sector.  For a copy of the term of reference for this group, please follow this link.

Pastoral Care Direction Setting - 2011

In September 2011, aConsultation Paper was prepared summarising the issues and challenges currently facing organisations and pastoral carers. Click here to download the paper.

Through an online survey CHA received feedback on the issues and strategies identified in this paper. Click here to see a summary of the feedback. 

An action plan with six priorities was finalised to respond to the agreed issues and challenges. Click here to access the action plan and the achievements to date. 

Other Useful websites:

Spiritual Care Australia :

Spiritual Health Victoria:

Meaningful Ageing Australia (formally known as Pastoral and Spiritual Care of Older People – PASCOP):

USA Websites:

National Associations of Catholic Chaplains:

Spiritual Care Association:


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