A center for pastoral and spiritual care recently opened at Christus Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler, gathering sisters and chaplains to help and comfort patients and their families to heal the body, mind and soul.
The Center for Pastoral and Spiritual Care now provides a unified space for the team in the heart of campus. The purpose of the center speaks to the hospital’s healing ministry in moments that are difficult for families.
“Scientifically, they know that the pastoral care, the spiritual care, the support of others, all those human needs, besides the physical healing and the medications and the surgeries, but the spiritual and emotional is very significant,” said Bishop Joseph Strickland, member of the Christus Trinity Mother Frances Foundation board of directors.
“That’s a large part of what pastoral care is, certainly bringing them to Jesus Christ,” he said.
The program, which includes a team of full-time chaplains and resident members of the Clinical Pastoral Education program, offers whole-person care. Last year alone, the program provided emotional, spiritual and religious counseling to over 14,000 community members.
The center has chaplains from different backgrounds and sisters from the health system’s founding congregations that are here working with families and patients and Christus associates, providing spiritual care and guidance 24/7 a year.
According to Christus, the program also trains chaplains from all over the country here, as a regional hub.
The central facility for the inspiring group is in the lobby of the main hospital because it’s so central to the hospital’s mission and to their work in the community.
The center features a quiet and welcoming waiting room, prayer and meditation room, an expanded conference room, chaplain residents’ workspaces, a sleeping room for an on-call chaplain and six chaplain offices.
Dr. Stephen Keuer, chair of the Pastoral Care Advisory Committee, said there cannot be complete healing in a patient until physical, emotional and spiritual healing are all addressed.
“Our chaplains here serve that need, administer that need to patients, their families, and also to the employees, such as doctors, nurses, especially during the pandemic and times like this,” Keuer said, adding it’s a key part of how they heal patients across the Christus Health system.
The center is available to all families regardless of faith or affiliation.
Services including spiritual and emotional support, prayer, grief and loss counseling, end of life issues, information about advance directives, helping in dealing with worries, fears, questions or pain, help with ethical concerns, values and decisions, support during crisis or emergency situations, family team conferences, providing sacraments or religious services, pastoral counseling and worship are offered.
To connect with a chaplain or someone about spiritual or emotional concerns, patients and their families can ask for a nursing staff member to contact the chaplain. For requests about spiritual support, contact [email protected].