Cajetan N Ihewulezi
Having worked as a pastor of a church and as a hospital chaplain for many years, the author had discovered that more intentional hospital bedside listening to the stories and experiences of the sick is very necessary for effective hospital preaching to the hospital community. The patient's stories and experiences are valuable resource materials that can be utilized in the preparation and delivery of more effective homilies to the hospital community. In most churches, Sunday homilies do not effectively address the problems of the sick. Most Sunday homilies address the moral, social, economic, and political problems of the healthy members of the churches. This thesis is aimed at improving pastoral care ministry of the sick. This pastoral approach will provide a homiletical guide for preachers, pastors, and chaplains involved in hospital, hospice, and nursing home ministries. In order to test whether the integration of patients' stories in sermons makes a difference in how preaching is received by patients in a hospital setting, three homilies without patients' stories and three with patients' stories were preached to patients. The method of testing was with questionnaires designed to provide opportunities to patients to express how they felt about the homilies. Apart from using questionnaires, face-to-face conversations between the pastoral minister and patients were also provided. The responses of patients clearly indicated the importance of including patients' stories and experiences in hospital preaching and affirmed the author's observation that applying patients' stories and experiences in homilies make preaching to the hospital community more effective.