Celebrating National Health Care Volunteer Week: Pastoral Care

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In honor of National Health Care Volunteer Week, April 19-25, St. Mary’s Hospital would like to thank the volunteers who generously donate their time and talents to the hospital. These volunteers help add to patients’ comfort, care and happiness, including assisting with spiritual care. Good care involves a full range of social, emotional, spiritual and physical restorations, which is why these volunteers are such an essential part of the healing team.

The hospital has six volunteer chaplains and 16 volunteer community clergy members, who together, in fiscal year 2008, made more than 5,000 pastoral visits, said Mary B. Cheseldine, the hospital’s volunteer student services coordinator.
Chaplains offer the ministry of skilled pastoral care to all faiths in the hospital community. They serve as liaisons between family members and the hospital to provide comfort, companionship and counsel. Every day, chaplains from a diverse group of community religious leaders are available to make patient visits, minister to staff and perform other spiritual duties.
Community clergy meet the needs of specific religions, such as administering communion or other sacraments. These volunteers support the patient and his or her family, friends and the staff providing medical care.  
National Volunteer Week began in 1974 with an executive order establishing the week as an annual celebration of volunteering. Since then, every president has signed a proclamation promoting National Volunteer Week.
If you are interested in volunteering at the hospital, call the Volunteer Office at 301-475-6453 or visit

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