This is a level 8 programme for someone preparing for ministry leadership in a Healthcare setting. It is a recognised and direct path to certification as a Catholic Healthcare Chaplain, approved by the Healthcare Chaplaincy Board of the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference.
This programme forms part of a person's initial formation for chaplaincy leadership in a healthcare setting, preparing him/her to minister effectively in collaboration with multi-disciplinary healthcare colleagues in the provision of holistic healthcare in public, voluntary, and private healthcare facilities. It prepares students to use advanced skills in professional caring ministry, especially leadership in prayer, pastoral care, and accompaniment with persons who suffer because of illness, trauma, tragedy, grief and bereavement.
This level allows students to develop a detailed knowledge of theological principles as these relate to ministry practice, and an understanding of concepts, methods, and models pertaining to ways of doing theology in practice.
It enables students to develop the ability to act in variable contexts, to be flexible in response to the needs of persons who are terminally ill or actively dying, to their family members and loved ones, and to professional colleagues who are deeply impacted by health-related conditions and experiences.
Students encounter a diversity of situations and people, go beyond their comfort zone, and learn to minister compassionately and sensitively, providing comforting outreach, sacramental care, facilitating the celebration of liturgy, public worship, and spiritual practices as appropriate within a challenging healthcare landscape.
The programme further enables students to:
•exercise appropriate judgment in complex situations, advocate for the persons in their care, and manage crisis in the practice of pastoral care;
•take responsibility for forming a habit of reflective practice for ministry;
•express a comprehensive, internalised, personal worldview, achieving self-awareness and critical reflection as these relate to pastoral ministry;
•face the demands of making collaborative ministry work and actively participate in the creation and maintenance of a healthy work environment;
•exercise initiative and independent thought, to interact intelligently, empathically, ethically, and professionally within their ministerial context;
•differentiate appropriate ministerial approaches within complex institutional cultures and systems, in response to varying group dynamics and organisational behaviour.
This Higher Diploma follows the same academic and placement schedules as the Diploma and Higher Diploma in Pastoral Theology, and is awarded on the successful completion of one year's full-time engagement.