OCCI Guidelines for Ecclesiastical Endorsement

Ecclesiastical Endorsement ensures that those OCCI Chaplains are qualified, ordained, have the necessary education and training, and most importantly feel “called” to serve in specialized ministry setting of Chaplaincy.

 Ecclesiastical Endorsement is more than just a letter from your Bishop stating that you have all the requisite training, ordination and calling within OCCI.  It is a three-way partnership and covenant between the OCCI Chaplain or Chaplain Candidate, his or her Bishop, and the Office of Chaplains.

The Office of Chaplains has developed Recommendations and Guidelines policy for Candidates to attain and retain their Ecclesiastical Endorsement for Chaplaincy in OCCI.   Endorsements are valid for three (3) years, at which time a review takes place between the OCCI Chaplain, his or her Bishop and the OCCI Office of Chaplains to check the status of the OCCI Chaplain, discuss and review the OCCI Chaplains work over his or her first three (3) years, and help the OCCI Candidate discern if he or she still feels “called” to specialized ministry.   It also is a time when the OCCI Candidate presents confirmation of the “specialized training” he or she has received for their particular Chaplaincy type.

It is important that the OCCI Chaplain or Chaplain Candidate understand the goals and expectations the Office of Chaplains and his or her Bishop has when it comes to attaining and retaining their Ecclesiastical Endorsement.

The following document is primarily for Bishops to better understand their role in providing Ecclesiastical Endorsement; however, it is necessary reading for the OCCI Chaplain or Chaplain Candidate to understand the goals and expectations required for the OCCI Chaplain or Chaplain Canditate to attain the Ecclesiastical Endorsement.

In a time when many churches provide Ecclesiastical Edorsement to their clergy because the professional organization for their speicalized ministry requires it as well as the organization the Chaplain will serve, they have no expectations or standards to ensure the clergy they endorse are of the highest moral charactor and highest calibur.   This can cause great difficulty for not only the Candidate attaining their appropriate specialized training and certifcation, it can provide difficulty for the organization for whom the Chaplain will serve.  Many churches provide these letters of “Ecclesiastical Endorsement” without explaining what it means, or the weight it should carry.

The OCCI Office of Chaplains was established to provide another avenue of vocations for priest, transitional deacons, and permanent deacons (whether volunteering while still working in a parish, or part-time or full-time outside the parish in the specialized setting such as a hospital, military, or law enforcement or fire department).   It ensures when an organziation brings on board a Chaplain Candidate or Chaplain from OCCI, they are receiving a Chaplain who is carefully screened, trained, ordained, has the requisite graduate seminary training (or equivalent), and has been verified by his or her bishop to have a “call within a call” to serve as a Chaplain.

It is the Chaplain or Chaplain Candidates personal faith which brought them to the realization their calling may be in chaplaincy, but once serving as a chaplain, the work of a chaplain is not about Chaplain’s own personal faith, but the faith of those they serve.   This will require the OCCI Chaplain or Chaplain Candidate to educate themselves not only on the rites and rituals of their own faith, but the rites and rituals of the faith of others.   This is why Ecclesiastical Endorsement within OCCI carries much weight when it comes to endorsing an OCCI Chaplain or Chaplain Candidate.

To view the “Recommendations for providing Ecclesiastical Endorsement for OCCI Chaplain Candidates”, click on the link below:

Recommendations for providing Ecclesiastical Endorsement for OCCI Chaplain Candidates