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Pastoral Care

Pastoral care brings compassion to people with emotional, social, mental, physical, or spiritual needs. Pastoral care for the sick, infirm, and those with other similar needs is one of the most personal significant ways that members of the Body of Christ continue the ministry and mission of Jesus. Pastoral care is considered the responsibility of all the baptized and understood to be in a broad sense “helping others,” the responsibility of all Christians.

Examples of pastoral care include:

  • Visiting the sick
  • Advocating for those with mental health needs
  • Ministering to those in prison
  • Bringing meals to the hungry, bereavement, and grief support.
  • Companioning others at the end of life

These varieties of care may involve supporting others during their immediate needs or sustaining others through prolonged difficulty. This care may enable a person’s journey of healing and wholeness by supporting someone through the process of reconciliation with God, self, and others. It may be as simple as offering guidance about resources.

At Bellarmine, our pastoral staff seeks to provide pastoral care for our members. In our extensive parish, the staff alone cannot respond to the many increasing needs that present themselves from week to week throughout our growing parish. Among our parish community are several Small Faith Communities and longtime friendships who care for one another in times of need. Another means of enhancing the delivery of pastoral care to our parish members is through our Network of Care described below.

Those who are homebound and unable to attend Mass in person can request communion to be delivered to them at home. When we visit, we will ask you questions (This will need to be reuploaded to our new digital assets manager, then relinked here) regarding your health and the health of those with whom you are in contact. These are the same questions every health care organization in the city is asking, recommended by our Governor and the CDC.

Sign up to deliver communion to those at home! For those volunteering and Delivering Communion To the community, here is a current list of instructions for the Communion ritual and safety protocols.

For many church communities, including ours, living through Covid we learned a lot about how to take care of one another. As a parish we were able to respond to the urgent needs we learned of, but for households who were coping with long-term needs, we could have responded better.

And so the Network of Care was conceived. Actually, it was restored. Parishioners who were here in the 80’s may recall this effort that was valuable but short-lived. There are actually 75 zip codes represented by our parish members in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas. 

As we reinvigorate this Network of Care, members who live in the same or an adjacent zip code will be connected to care for one another and form a community within their neighborhood. Care could include a ride to the Chapel for Sunday Mass or a medical appointment, providing meals, offering a listening ear during a difficult time, and more. 

We invite our Bellarmine Chapel parishioners to join our Network of Care by completing the interest form.

Once you submit an interest form, a coordinator will contact you to learn more about the members of your household, any needs which could be met by your parish neighbors or which you could meet for them, and to invite you to a social. You may discover the person sitting three pews away from you in the Chapel has been your neighbor who lives three blocks from you!

We hope that through this Network of Care, we will multiply and extend our experience of a community caring for one another throughout the neighborhoods in which we all live. We encourage everyone to support this initiative!

Our Senior Pastoral Care Team seeks to provide for the particular needs of the elder members of our community. Team members are in regular phone contact with our seniors to learn of their needs and connect them with care and services, particularly those who have no family members in town.

Pastoral Care Phone Calls to Seniors
A team of parish members willing to make phone calls to parishioners at their request, or the request of their family members, checking in at regular intervals, helping us learn about new needs that arise.

Please let us know the name and contact information of your loved ones by completing this form to add them to our call list.

Resources for Seniors
Access a list of local resources for aging adults prepared by the Senior Pastoral Care Team. 

Bellarmine Community Care or Meal Train is a cohort of parishioners providing meals to fellow parishioners and friends of Bellarmine in need due to illness, childbirth, or other temporary circumstances. From time to time, we provide food for a parish-related non-profit. Notification of a need is done entirely by email, and sign-ups occur through the website Meal Train. There are no expectations for how often or seldom you volunteer, and no meetings! 

For more information or to sign up, please email Amy Whitlatch.

The Bellarmine Bereavement Ministry is a ministry of compassion, solidarity, and care that began in 1979. Upon notification of a death in the community, a member of the Bereavement Ministry contacts the family, assuring their willingness and availability to help with funeral planning. This planning can take place either at the parish or at the family’s home. We use a funeral planning template to guide us in selecting readings, songs, and persons to take the various roles during the liturgy.

We send the funeral liturgy plan to the presider, music director, and others who will have a role in the liturgy. The family is welcome to compose the petitions or give suggestions for the team to formulate them. We design a worship aid, including front and back covers, according to the family’s desires.

Members of the Bereavement Team are present on the funeral day, including for a visitation before the Mass. The team members arrive early to assist with any setup, arrange photographs and flowers in the narthex and the sanctuary, and coordinate with the funeral directors. 

The team greets guests, offers worship aids, welcomes them to Bellarmine Chapel, invites them to sign the guest register, and is available to serve as acolytes, lectors, and Eucharistic ministers, guiding the presentation of the gifts singing, and any other role needed. This same team remains at the Chapel for clean-up. This ministry operates on very little notice and typically occurs on weekday mornings. 

A member of the bereavement team sends a sympathy card on behalf of the community to the family members of parish members who died one month and on the first anniversary following the death.  

For assistance with funeral planning or more information, contact our Director of Faith Formation.

Bellarmine offers ongoing grief support for those grieving the death of a loved one or any other loss of a relationship, job, quality of life, etc. Parish members facilitate the group who have walked and continue to walk the grief journey themselves, providing a safe and welcoming space for all coping with loss and grief. Offering tools for living with grief, meeting on Zoom or in-person as appropriate and needed. Our facilitators can also meet individually outside of the group if preferred.

Please contact Angie Thorman-Grimsley.