PCS 55-56: Ministry of the Sick

What the sick can do to serve the community and the world, rather than just what people can do for them. Many pastoral care ministers invite ill people to the ministry of prayer as described in these paragraphs:

55. The sick should be encouraged to pray when they are alone or with their families, friends, or those who care for them. Their prayer should be drawn primarily from Scripture. The sick person and others may help to plan the celebration, for example, by choosing the prayers and readings. Those making these choices should keep in mind the condition of the sick person.

It makes sense that Sunday visits should focus on the Lectionary proclaimed at the parish Mass:


The passages found in this chapter and those included in Part III speak of the mystery of human suffering in the words, works, and life of Christ. Occasionally, for example, on the Lord’s Day, the sick may feel more involved in the worship of the community from which they are separated if the readings used are those assigned for that day in the lectionary. Prayers may also be drawn from the psalms or from other prayers or litanies. The sick should be helped in making this form of prayer, and the minister should always be ready to pray with them.

This last statement is important: assist the sick in praying psalms, prayers, and litanies and the pastoral minister is always ready.


56. The minister should encourage the sick person to offer his or her sufferings in union with Christ and to join in prayer for the Church and the world. Some examples of particular intentions which may be suggested to the sick person are: for peace in the world; for a deepening of the life of the Spirit in the local Church; for the pope and the bishops; for people suffering in a particular disaster.

One elderly woman I knew appreciated section 56. She knew she couldn’t do much in the material world, but she appreciated the virtue of prayer and she did all she could to pray for those in need. Many parishes have prayer chains and similar ministries. The elderly and the sick should form the core of such efforts.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Pastoral Care of the Sick, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

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