Chaplaincy is a “specialty” within the priesthood and permanent diaconate.  When St Mother Teresa went to her Mother Superior to request de-cloisterization, her Mother Superior asked why she would want to leave the convent, St Mother Teresa said she felt in her heart a “call within a call”.  The call to Chaplaincy is also a “call within a call”.

Calling to priesthood and permanent diaconate prepares candidates for service as parish priests and deacons.  Chaplaincy is the specialty which prepares priests and permanent deacons for working within an “interfaith” and/or “no-faith” environment.

Chaplains serve out of their faith and call; however, Chaplaincy is not about the Chaplain’s faith.  It is about the faith or no-faith to those whom the Chaplains serve.   Chaplains often serve in situations when their regular clergy are unavailable.  Chaplains provide a holy space for people who are in pain, trauma, crisis, and conflict.  Chaplains stand with human beings as they encounter some of the most trying times of their lives.  Chaplains assist in bridging the gap between the mundane and the sacred.

Chaplains serve in a variety of environments including (but not limited to):

  • Police Departments
  • Sheriff Departments (Chaplains to those incarcerated in local and county jails, state penitentiaries, federal penitentiaries, etc.)
  • Fire Departments
  • EMS Departments
  • Federal Law Enforcement Agencies (FBI, Secret Service, etc.)
  • Federal Agencies not necessarily law enforcement (CIA, NSA, etc.)
  • Trauma Centers
  • Airport Chaplains
  • State Chaplain Response Teams
  • Critical Incident Teams
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing Homes
  • Hospices and Palliative Care Programs
  • Industry (i.e. Corporate Chaplains, etc.)
  • Military

The Old Catholic Church, International “Office of Chaplains” was established in 2018 by the Conference of Bishops to:

  • Foster vocations for full-time paid and/or volunteer chaplains
  • Support and encourage priests, permanent and transitional deacons to serve as volunteer chaplains in many of the organizations listed above
  • Recruiting and assisting chaplain candidates through their specialized training
  • Supporting chaplains and their families
  • Providing tools and training to support OCCI Chaplains
  • Providing on-going continuing education for Chaplains
  • Providing a support system for those ministering in this highly specialized ministry
  • Providing a clearinghouse for communications among OCCI chaplains through newsletters and conferences.
  • Providing “Ecclesiastical Endorsement” for OCCI Chaplain candidates.
  • Promoting the specialized ministry of chaplaincy within the church and community
  • Participating in national/state/provincial chaplaincy organizations
  • Becoming a participating partner and maintaining membership within COMISS Network[1]. For more information, visit comissnetwork.org

For more information, please contact the Office of Chaplains at chaplaincy@myocci.org.

[1] OCCI Office of Chaplains is in the process of becoming a partner of COMISS as a “Endorsing Organization” partner.