As we complete our first year of service as VITALity Catholic Healthcare Services, we are happy to share with you in this, our first Annual Report, the results of our efforts in bringing home and parish based healthcare services to our Camden Diocese. Funded through the Diocese of Camden Healthcare Foundation (established with the net assets of the sale of our Diocesan Nursing Homes – which continue to operate under new ownership and with a Catholic identity) and supported through the generosity of donors to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal/ House of Charity, VITALity has touched the lives of over 45,000 people here in South Jersey in our first year of operation.
This includes the nearly 35,000 patients in hospitals across South Jersey who were ministered to by our Priest Chaplains and Associate Chaplains dedicating over 27,000 hours of service, along with 260 volunteers, bringing the healing spirit of Jesus through Sacraments and pastoral visits to our faithful members in over 120,000 bedside visits. In addition, VITALity staff has helped over 600 individuals and countless family members in need of direction, information and access to the proper level of medical care through our Care Coordination program and an additional 600 parishioners have benefited from our Parish Nurses providing them valuable health screening, education and information. Our Stephen Ministry program now has grown to 140 trained parish ministers who have assisted over 100 of their fellow parishioners who have undergone a crisis or loss in their lives. Our Ministry to the Deaf and Persons with Disabilities has continued to be a beacon of light to over 200 individuals and families, keeping them connected to our Church through programs of spiritual development, worship, socialization, and providing valuable links into medical services and programs. And, the St. Peter Senior Ministry has supported over 200 seniors who made nearly 4,500 visits to the Day Center.
Countless others have attended special Liturgies to celebrate the Eucharist for special intentions. This included a Mass of Hope, Healing and Thanksgiving for Cancer patients, The White Mass for Healthcare providers, and a Mass of Welcome and Inclusion for children with Autism. Over 200 seniors attended a VITALity sponsored Healthy Aging Event to receive medical screenings, flu shots and health information. In addition, a day of Prayer, Reflection and Refreshment was offered by our staff, where twenty personal caregivers came together in a spirit of support and encouragement. And finally, VITALity staff, along with the support of the men in Diaconate formation, took on a special project to ensure that all of the Catholic residents of each Nursing Home and Assisted Living Facility throughout the entire diocese, are provided Pastoral, Liturgical, and Sacramental experiences through the local parish in which they are located. We are happy to report that now such is the case.
Our website will highlight the programs that we have successfully developed and implemented during our inaugural year and shares the stories of those impacted by the Church’s outreach into their lives. Stories of genuine caring and compassion by dedicated caregivers along with testimonials of appreciative recipients of that care- patients, fellow parishioners and families who have experienced hope and joy in the healing touch of the Lord through the hands of others- will provide a broad perspective of the charitable works made possible by the generosity of so many.
We have grown from the seed of vision by Bishop Dennis Sullivan into the reality of a valuable ministry of service and support for the health and wellbeing of so many. And I thank all the wonderful staff and volunteers throughout the diocese who have dedicated themselves to the needs of those most vulnerable- our elderly and persons with disabilities. Without their loving service in a spirit of mercy and compassion, VITALity would not exist.
As our VITALity name implies, we continue to model the words of Jesus: “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
Thank you for helping us live out our mission throughout this first year. We continue to thank God for His blessings upon us and ask His favor as we continue to grow and spread His healing touch to more and more people throughout the Diocese of Camden.
Stay well and God bless.
Deacon Jerry Jablonowski
VITALity Catholic Healthcare Services