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Br Brian Cunningham ready for hospital chaplaincy

Posted by Jordan Grantham on 29 January 2019
Br Brian Cunningham ready for hospital chaplaincy

The January 20 bulletin of St Maximilian Kolbe Parish, Marsden congratulated three parishioners, including a De La Salle Brother, who completed training to be hospital chaplains through Centacare.

Br Brian Cunningham FSC, Rachel Matijasevic and Adeline Barncastle successfully completed the yearlong course, graduating in a ceremony and Mass at St. Stephen's Cathedral, Brisbane, on the evening of 25 October 2018.

"Congratulations to Br. Brian, Adeline and Rachel, who with the constant assistance of Fr. Sunil, have completed the yearlong course, qualifying them to work as Pastoral Carers, in any hospital," the bulletin noted.

One year earlier Fr Sunil arranged a meeting at the Marsden Parish between Judy Norris, Director of Pastoral Care at Centacare Brisbane and the interested parishioners who had been approached to consider taking on the training course.

The rigour of the hospital chaplaincy training program became clear in the details of the requirements, including the ongoing workshop curricula, 100 hours of practicum, Police checks, Blue Card, and vaccination details.

"This was quite daunting for people who were volunteers in several works of charity, associated with the good works of our parish, but who had so long ago said goodbye to their College days and any form of serious study," the bulletin noted.

The program began at the O'Shea Centre in Wilston, north of Brisbane, on 19 February 2018, with a five-day workshop on pastoral care.

"The group of 20-so-people faced a special presenter with more than 20 years of chaplaincy experience in one of the large Sydney hospitals, by the name of Joy Bowen," the bulletin noted.

The mornings were dedicated to theory and afternoons were highly interactive, including impromptu performances of common pastoral situations and events that a Pastoral Carer, might encounter with a patient, in hospital. "This was the time, when everyone wished they were the size of a little mouse, so that they could hide and not be seen," the bulletin noted. 

Read more: Hospital chaplains commissioned (Catholic Leader, Brisbane)

Besides the knowledge gained in the initial week, "perhaps the most important thing was a beautiful bonding between our three Marsdenites."

The participants felt that "Together we will show the world that something really good can come out of Marsden."

Supervised practicum hours at Logan Hospital were another growth experience. 

"Our supervisors were absolutely marvellous people, full of experience and best of all they gently walked us through the maze of hospital wards, corridors, to come face to face with the sick, the needy, the poor and the marginalised patients, who for the most part were the same kind of people that Jesus talked to, walked with and loved greatly."

Participants highly recommend the course and being a hospital chaplain to others.

"You all can do it, never doubt the greatness of your hearts to take up any challenge and conquer."

"We have walked together, faced the challenges, and came out strengthened, new, and very capable of holding out our hands to anyone in need."

"I look forward to promoting the course next year," Br Brian said.


With thanks to St Maximilian Kolbe Parish, Marsden

Author:Jordan Grantham
About: Communications Manager, Lasallian Mission Council, DLS District of ANZPPNG.
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