When to Contact Clergy

When to Contact the Clergy

There are many occasions when clergy can be of enormous help to individuals and families, sharing joys and sorrows, and offering spiritual support during crises. Here are some of the times when you should contact clergy.


Before going to the hospital

When we know about a hospitalization, clergy and lay visitors will call on parishioners to offer help, friendship, prayers and sacraments. Hospitals do not notify churches of hospitalized parishioners. As soon as you know about a hospitalization, please call the church office or have a family member call.

When a parishioner becomes unable to attend church

Whether due to illness, injury, or the infirmity of age, arrangements can be made for visits by clergy and Lay Eucharistic Visitors as part of our regular visitation program.

When you wish to make a confession

You have an absolute guarantee that your confession, when given to a priest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, will not be repeated to anyone by the clergy. Much strength for living comes by the unburdening of one’s guilt to a fellow human being who can give you the wonderful assurance of God’s love and forgiveness.

When you have a question of faith or religious experience

Both doubt and mystical experience can be equally unnerving. Spiritual direction is one of the skills in which the clergy have been trained. Individual direction and recommendations for resource materials are available when one has reached a crisis point in his or her relationship with God.

When there is a death in the family, or if death is imminent

The church is thanked for its ministry to the dying and to mourners perhaps more than for any other service it renders.  Upon a death, please call the clergy first, prior to making any arrangements.  The sooner the clergy are called in, the more helpful they can be in bringing you, in one of life’s most painful moments, pastoral support and an awareness of God’s love. Clergy guide those in mourning through the planning process, and should be consulted prior to setting a date, time, or location for funeral services.  Remember, too, that parishioners are encouraged to pre-plan arrangements and can contact the clergy to do so.  More information can be found at Funerals at St. John’s and Planning for the End of Life.

When a baby is born

The birth of a baby is one of God’s greatest miracles. Prayers of thanksgiving and a blessing upon the child and the parents are appropriate immediately following a birth.  St. John’s Meal Ministry is available to support new parents.

When you decide to be married

Whether you are planning to be married at St. John’s or elsewhere, your clergy can help enrich your preparation for marriage by joining with you in conversations as you look ahead to your life together.  You should start discussing plans for the wedding day as far ahead of time as possible.  If you would like to be married at St. John’s, please speak with the office before deciding upon a date.  More information can be found at Weddings at St. John’s.

When alcohol or drugs become a problem for you or someone you love

The alcohol or drug dependent person is ill and needs help, just as a person with any illness needs help. Clergy can support individuals and the family, finding the best and right kind of assistance.  St. John’s hosts both Alcoholics Anonymous and Al Anon.

When  you would like to talk about a difficult decicion

The big decisions in life are so important that they should be talked about and prayed through. Your work, getting married or divorced, a change in jobs, are all included. Your clergy can bring new light to the situation and stand ready to discern the matter with you in confidence, friendship, and prayer.  St. John’s also has a Stephen Ministry that provides a trained lay person to support you for a period of time as a spiritual friend.