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Luxembourg: pastoral service for the sick and old, a course for volunteers

The first training course for French-speaking volunteers will be starting in October, as part of the pastoral service for the sick and old in Luxembourg. “We have been organising such courses for Luxembourgers for thirty years, but the demographic scene has changed, and the needs of old people from other language families must be met”, Jutta Förtsch, delegate for the “specialist pastoral service” of the archdiocese, explains to SIR. Thirty hours of theoretical training and 36 hours of hands-on apprenticeship will be attended for one year by the people who enrol in the course, 8 of them so far, Förtsch explains. Theological background, notions of psychology to approach and support sick people, introduction to different religious rites, are the milestones of the course, which includes a group process and a personal tutorship that will go on even when the volunteers start working in hospitals, retirement homes or with old people at home. This thirty-year experience tells that the courses will be supervised “by people from all walks of life, but mainly women”, Jutta Förtsch goes on. In Luxembourg, 14% of the population are over 65; for Luxembourgers, the proportion of old people is currently 19.7%, while, for foreigners, it is nearly 8% (a number that has been growing in the last few years). In Luxembourg, foreigners account for 47% of the population, 90% of whom are EU citizens.

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