Effective pastoral care for the sick and the dying; A strategy to enhance faith and hope among the Catholics of Kihani Parish Mbarara_Archdiocese
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The study examined effective pastoral care for the sick and the dying as a strategy of enhancing faith and hope among Catholics in Kihani Parish. Specifically, the situation pertaining to the sick and the dying; challenges faced during administration of pastoral care and anointing of the sick, role of pastoral care for the sick and the dying in enhancing faith and hope among the faithful in Kihani Parish were investigated. Qualitative and quantitative designs were used to collect and analyse data. A semi structured questionnaire was used for quantitative data collection while an interview guide was used to collect quantitative data. The study found out that pastoral care for the sick entails visiting the sick and dying and administration of sacraments among others. Agents of pastoral care found out from the study are mainly priests and also the entire Christian community. Lack of proper guiding systems, inadequate funding, lack of manpower, influence of mushrooming churches and traditional healers all jeopardize pastoral care for the sick and the dying ministry in Kihani Parish. To these challenges, the study reported that instituting a special collection to facilitate priests in pastoral care, reducing the prices of drugs in hospitals and clinics, continuous formation and training personnel in pastoral clinical education; organizing community insurance schemes and better diocesan pastoral care systems are the possible solutions. It was therefore recommended that there is need of a concrete and urgent attention to the existing pastoral challenges. This can be done through adequate catechesis, empowering of small Christian communities and above all formation of pastoral care groups extended at all levels in order to attain a holistic and effective pastoral care for the sick and the dying services.