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"It took my journey to become a Board Certified Chaplain (BCC) to draw forth the theological reflections that I have been a Chaplain, ad contra Canon 564, since the age of 4. Board Certified Chaplaincy is recognized by the USCCB (and heralded as the platinum of ecclesial ministry because we require a graduate degree in theology, a residency in clinical pastoral education, as well as a full year of in-field lay formation; a certification committee of peers to evidence national competencies, as well as 50 annual CEUs to maintain certification), but we can only use our title in the college of chaplains. Our ministry is to accompany those suffering from the pain and loss of illness, by accident or in the process of dying; and their families, as well as staff... Ergo, it is diakonia. Since I was taught by the Dominicans to teach, to preach, and to lead, I also have a full year of learning how to preach, with classroom, lab and chapel practicum, which was done alongside student friars. I have composed, presided, and preached at Protestant (of course Catholics want a priest, although lay persons can do wakes and gravesides) wakes, funerals, and graveside services. I have also offered hundreds of extemporaneous prayers of final commendation bedside. The people I serve have called me forth and affirmed my gifts for this diaconal ministry, and the Holy Spirit has called and guided me. I have already been called to humble foot washing service leadership, and I have answered the call. All that remains is the official sacramental laying on of the hands by the institutional Church. May it be so."Share Your Story