St. Jeanne Jugan Ministry With Elders provides much-needed spiritual support to older adults living in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, hospitals, hospice care or are homebound. We train volunteers and work with parishes to make sure that any elder who can no longer physically attend Mass at their parish can have access to Holy Communion, prayer and a sense of connection with the Church.
Program Overview: A Diocesan Approach
The Diocese of Tucson is geographically the fifth largest diocese in the United States and spans most of southern Arizona throughout nine counties. We are a diverse mix of urban and rural communities with many languages spoken. In all of our materials and trainings, we strive to meet the people we serve with cultural and linguistic sensitivity.
How the Ministry Began
For over two decades, Catholic Community Services (CCS) provided direct services to nursing home facilities in the Tucson metro area with Mass, Communion Services, Anointing of the Sick, and prayer. This outreach to 23 facilities was much-needed and is the foundation for a comprehensive approach for our large Diocese.
Through support from the Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities in 2013, CCS was able to conduct a needs assessment and learned that there was significant interest in building a network of parish-based efforts to provide services to elders within a parish’s boundaries.
Who was St. Jeanne Jugan?
Saint Jeanne Jugan (October 25, 1792 – August 29, 1879) was the foundress and first Little Sister of the Poor. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 3, 1982 and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 11, 2009. She lived in the era of the French Revolution, passing away in obscurity after decades of service to elders and the infirm. Her supporters kept her memory and service dear to their hearts, advocating for her sainthood.
Rethinking Church "I see clearly that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity."
- Pope Francis, 2013
The nearness The nearness and proximity urged by the Pope is at the core of what it means to be a volunteer in this type of ministry. We have to think beyond the definition of Church as a building and be willing to seek out our elders who can no longer physically join us for liturgies. They still have a purpose and place in the parish; it’s up to us in the community to make sure they are included by understanding:
- Spirituality of Aging
- Spirituality of Visitation
- Encountering Christ in the Word and Eucharist that is Taken, Blessed, Broken, and Shared
Answering the Call
With support from pastors and longtime coordinators, CCS has formed a partnership with Jordan Ministry Team to provide training to volunteers willing to go out and minister to elders who are often dealing with illness, mobility issues, or are at the end of life.
Our trainings help ministers be able to prayerfully enter into the suffering of our brothers and sisters and remind them of the love and mercy of God expressed through the faith community.
Ideally, each parish has a volunteer coordinator who plays a supportive role to the Pastor. It is our mission to strengthen existing ministries at the parish level and build new ones where a program has not existed before. Please contact us if you feel called to serve in this special way.
To join this special ministry, please fill out and submit the Volunteer Contact Form as the first step to getting involved with your parish's outreach to elders.