Providing For Spiritual Needs
In 1908, the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine opened Mercy Hospital, the first Catholic hospital in the area. Today, Mercy Hospital is called Mercy Medical Center and continues to be Stark County’s only Catholic hospital. Mercy Pastoral Care is just as important today as it was in 1908 with its commitment to healthcare in this community.
Mercy Pastoral Care provides a broad array of services and programs that are supportive to the spiritual and emotional needs of patients and their families, employees, medical staff and volunteers. Chaplains, both Catholic and Protestant, are here to serve as attentive listeners, meeting people where they are and encouraging them on their journey of faith.
Chaplains are trained and certified for hospital ministry and come from different religious denominations. They respect the religious preference of the patient and do not impose their beliefs or religious practices. Their role is to be with others at critical points of life to provide comfort, support and compassion. Chaplains work with the total health care team so that, along with the person’s medical needs, the spiritual and emotional needs are also addressed.
Chaplains provide a full range of support services from the birth of a child to terminal illness and death. They conduct initial visits, pre-surgery visits, crisis calls, sacramental ministry, routine visits and referral visits, codes and traumas. Other services include Advance Directives, Grief Support Groups and presentations in the community. Pastoral Care coordinates efforts with area clergy and makes contacts when members of their faith are admitted.
Holy Communion is celebrated daily for Catholic patients through the generous services of volunteer Eucharistic Ministers from various parishes in the area. If a patient of another denomination would like to receive Communion, Pastoral Care can assist the patient in contacting their minister or a Protestant Chaplain can administer Communion. The department prays daily for the entire hospital and prayers are read in the mornings and evenings over the P.A. system.
Mercy’s chapel is on the first floor of the hospital, near the entrance to our ICU. It is open and available for patients and visitors of all faiths to come and seek spiritual comfort and guidance. Mass is normally celebrated at noon on Mondays and Fridays.