Celestine O Obidiegwu
We observe the provision of pastoral care to the sick, suffering, and aged as a fundamental part of the mission of the Church, grounded on the ministry of Jesus as recorded in the Scripture. It discusses not only the elderly population demographics in the U.S., but also the necessity for ongoing provision of preaching and ministry to them. It examines the current literature and position of the Church on the provision of pastoral care at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. We also explores different biblical responses to the ongoing mystery of suffering, sickness, aging, and healing. How did some biblical characters grapple with their suffering? How did they perceive the goodness of God in the face of it? This chapter provides an in-depth analysis of the genre and theological, contextual, and historico-cultural background of some biblical texts concerning suffering, aging, and healing. We will demonstrate the Church's understanding and renewal of preaching in the last fifty years through a review of current literature and official documents of the Church. Though this review will reflect the perspective of the Catholic Church, this chapter also offers an overview of what constitutes Christian preaching and what its rich history, renewal, and methodology have to offer the Christian Church in general. We examine the current practices and ministry of preaching at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. A review of current literature on preaching to the elderly population enriched the understanding of what it means to preach an effective homily to them. Chapter Five demonstrates a four-part workshop that will aid chaplains and ministers to be more effective preachers to the target population. This workshop attempts to answer the question, "What constitutes effective preaching with which residents of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities can connect?"