VITALity OFFERS COMFORT
The Hospital Chaplaincy Program, continues to provide spiritual and emotional support to hospitalized patients, their families and the staff of the hospitals served in South Jersey. The chaplaincy team partners a priest chaplain with a deacon or lay minister to serve as an associate chaplain, along with women religious who serve as pastoral associates. They are greatly supported by more than 200 volunteer Eucharistic Ministers who assist the pastoral care team in bringing Holy Communion to the Catholic parishioners. This year chaplaincy support from VITALity Catholic Healthcare Services has been added to Anchora Psychiatric Hospital in Hammonton and Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice in Voorhees.
Our Chaplaincy team brings Christ’s compassionate and healing presence to the facilities we serve. Their ministry includes administering or arranging for the administration of the Sacrament of the Sick and Sacrament of Penance, conducting pastoral care visits, and offering Holy Communion, prayers and spiritual resources. The Chaplaincy team also assist the local parishes and pastors by informing them of parishioners who have requested that their pastors be notified of their hospitalization. The team has also been instrumental in connecting the patients with the other health-related services that the diocese offers through VITALity Catholic Healthcare Services.
By: Father Sanjai Devis, VC
Director of Hospital Chaplaincy
ANNUAL SPIRITUAL REPORT
Pastoral care visits with patients: 122,615
Pastoral care visits with staff and families: 13,186
Holy Communions distributed: 66,448
Sacrament of the Sick Administered: 5,545
Baptisms Celebrated: 8
Total number of pastoral care hours by chaplains and associate chaplains: 25,116
PASTORAL CARE TEAM
Number of hospitals, facilities: 18
Priest Chaplains: 9
Deacon Associate Chaplains: 2
Religious Sisters: 3
Lay Associate Chaplains: 4
Eucharistic Ministers: 235
“The objective of my visit is to let the sick feel the power of faith, hope and love manifesting through the sacraments that I administer and the words that I share. . . As a priest chaplain, I can share in the healing work of Christ. I can give them Holy Communion for their spiritual nourishment. I administer the Sacrament of the Sick to heal their souls. I can hear confession for their conversion and reconciliation. I can help the sick cope with their difficulties by a friendly and cheerful visit with words or gestures of encouragement.”
By Reverend Cosme de la Pena, Chaplain at Cape Regional Hospital in Cape May Court House
“My family requested pastoral care while my uncle was in the hospital. Although he was not a churchgoer, he held to the principles of the Christian faith and because of that I knew that he was going to want to speak with Fr. Jerold. We were all thankful with the Lord because by uncle had the opportunity to confess and receive communion.”
Testimonial from a family member
RENEWED APPROACH TO PASTORAL CARE OF THE SICK
As the Diocese of Camden implements a more comprehensive approach in its ministry to the sick and disabled, the Hospital Chaplaincy Program has grown to better meet the needs of those parishioners finding themselves hospitalized throughout South Jersey.
Hospital chaplains provide a wonderful ministerial outreach to those who are acutely ill and are inpatients in the many hospitals here in the diocese. This valuable ministry is just one of the many ways that the Diocese of Camden cares for its people. The new approach ensures the fullest availability to our parishioners and provides the best use of experienced priests and deacons for this most important pastoral work.
Under the auspices of Vitality Catholic Healthcare Services, Hospital Chaplaincy will be linked with the totality of healthcare services and play a vital role in outreach efforts to bring the healing hands of Christ present to those in need.
Father Sanjai Devis, V.C., serves as the Diocesan Director of Hospital Chaplaincy. His experience and enthusiasm supports the work of these chaplains and provides the day to day responsibility and accountability for the coordination and operation of this ministry.
In order to assure that all our parishioners have timely access to pastoral care while hospitalized in these times of often very short stays, the Diocesan Chaplaincy Program partners a priest chaplain with a deacon or lay minister to serve as an associate chaplain, along with women religious pastoral associates. The diocese has created six “hospital clusters,” arranged by their geographic proximity and size. A chaplaincy team is assigned to each cluster and works with the local surrounding parishes to recruit volunteer Eucharistic Ministers who assist them in bringing Holy Communion to our Catholic parishioners.
These chaplains are well experienced in this ministry and work together as a team to serve our parishioners’ needs while hospitalized. They administer (or arrange for the administration of) the Sacrament of the Sick, conduct pastoral visits for patients, families and hospital staffs, help coordinate the visits of parish Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist and assist in a diocesan-wide effort to better inform and teach our Catholic faithful about the Sacrament of the Sick and its most practical application, effects and timing. We need to catechize our Catholic parishioners about this Sacrament of Healing and its positive effects, and dispel old thinking of it as only the Sacrament of the Dying (Extreme Unction).
In addition, the associate chaplains will assist in the communication to the local parishes and pastors, informing them of parishioners who are hospitalized (with the permission of the patient) and will assist patients being discharged to link into the other health-related services that the diocese is offering within Vitality Catholic Healthcare Services. This eases the transition home and facilitates other outreach efforts of the parish to connect with its members who are ill and/or recovering from sickness. They also take on the responsibility to review and evaluate our Catholic presence in the many long term care facilities in the region to assure that our Catholic parishioners residing there remain connected to their local parish through Mass and prayer services being offered on a regular basis.
Written by: Deacon Jerry Jablonowski, Executive Director of VITALity Catholic Healthcare Services, in the Diocese of Camden