On Friday 2 June a formal ceremony took place at the Protestant Theological Faculty of Charles University (PTF) to mark the end of the Course for Hospital Chaplains. The sixteen graduates of the course had been training for a year so that they could become a beneficial part of a hospital team while maintaining their own unique personality. Part of their role will be to bring hope to patients, their families, and health service workers. Many of them believe they will be successful in changing the atmosphere in their hospital, so that hospitals will be seen as a place of God’s presence with a friendly atmosphere and relationships characterised by openness, trust, and respect.
The course included theoretical teaching, practising skills, and becoming aware of one’s own attitudes. The participants in the course also completed practice placements under the direction of experienced chaplains in three Prague hospitals.
At the ceremony, the graduates of the course received their certificates and were addressed by the Dean, Jiří Mrázek, and the teacher who coordinated the course, Ladislav Beneš, on behalf of PTF; by the hospital chaplain Jan Blažek on behalf of the Association of Hospital Chaplains; and by the Deputy Minister for Health, Lenka Teska Arnoštová. The Roman Catholic priest Jan Fatka responded on behalf of the students.The course is organised regularly by PTF in cooperation with the Association of Hospital Chaplains and with the support of the different Czech churches. Hospital chaplaincy work in the Czech Republic is organised ecumenically, and the course is open to members of all churches who have a degree in theology. It is taught twice a month at weekends, with three weeks of practice placements, a total of 300 hours. Successful completion of the course is a condition in order to work as a chaplain in health establishments in the Czech Republic. This was the third time the course had been held at PTF, and it will be opened for a fourth time in March 2018, running till May 2019.