Hospital celebrates work of pastoral caregivers

HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital will celebrate Pastoral Care Week Oct. 22-28 in honor of those who serve in various ministries and provide spiritual healing to others in need.

Held first in 1984, Pastoral Care Week is sponsored by the Coalition on Ministry in Specialized Settings Network, a national organization of pastoral care providers, professionals, chaplains, and a faith group endorser. Now in its 33rd year, the week-long observance recognizes the importance of spirituality and spiritual leaders as a part of the healing process.

“Pastoral caregivers make rounds to visit patients every day and are on-call after hours to provide spiritual assistance to patients and their families,” explains Mary Salm, director of spiritual care, HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division. “During times of illness, knowing someone cares brings a sense of healing and hope to the sick and their families. They make frequent visits, offer support, share prayers and simply listen to patients.”

Each day, pastoral caregivers are invited into the life experiences of women, men, children and organizations. Pastoral Care Week provides an opportunity for the community to celebrate with chaplains and pastoral care counselors, educators and providers for bringing many gifts to the process of restoration to patients, young and old.

“Pastoral Care Week is a wonderful time to recognize those providing spiritual care within our community,” says Salm. “We are celebrating the work of our chaplains this week, but we also want to celebrate the work of the many other clergy and spiritual leaders throughout the area who faithfully visit their parishioners during hospital stays.”

All those who provide pastoral care to others, regardless of faith tradition, whether clergy or not, those who give pastoral care in specialized settings such as hospitals, prisons, businesses, industries, long-term care facilities, pastoral counseling centers, hospices, military settings, nursing homes, congregations of sisters, priests and brothers, schools, universities, seminaries, and many more.


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