Capuchin friars from the Province of St. Mary presently serve as chaplains in colleges, hospitals, and prisons in both Vermont and New York State. In addition, two other friars associated with our Province serve the spiritual needs of military personnel in overseas assignments.
In order to respond to the unique needs of the people who live in these special and, at times, very stressful environments, those called to this ministry need to develop very important and specialized skills. Through study, training courses, and, of course, hands-on experience, Chaplains learn to respond to the spiritual and psychological needs of the people they serve.
Chaplains are typically required to be certified by the National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC) and participate in four units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). Because of the demands placed on someone in this ministry, good health (emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual) is essential. Good judgment, maturity, empathy, and assessment skills in a variety of crisis situations are among the primary assets a competent and caring chaplain brings to his ministry.
Given the nature of this ministry and the circumstances of the people they serve, Chaplains are often called upon in times of crises and during emergency situations. This means that they are often required to serve on-call on a twenty-four hour basis. It also means that Chaplains need to be sensitive and considerate in their approach to all people, without regard to race, sex, creed, or religion. During such trying circumstances, it is inevitable that Chaplains find themselves sharing in the suffering of the individuals involved. As they strive to fulfill all of the responsibilities associated with being a Chaplain, Capuchin friars take on this burden in a spirit of humility and minority, and with honor and respect.