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Grane Hospice Care Blog

Pastoral Care Week/Spiritual Care Week

Pastoral Care Week & Spiritual Care Week

Pastoral Care Week, which runs from October 25th to 31st this year, provides an opportunity for the much deserved recognition and celebration of spiritual caregivers.’


The first Pastoral Care Week was held in October 1985 and has since grown beyond to international proportions. This celebration provides chaplains, pastoral care counselors, educators, and providers an opportunity to share their story and to celebrate various ministries. Each year, a new theme highlights a certain aspect of spiritual care, and this year’s theme is ‘Collaborative Healthcare: Chaplains Complete the Picture.


They say ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ and Collaborative Healthcare: Chaplains Complete the Picture encourages us to celebrate the work of chaplains and the integral part they play in patient care.


Source: Spiritual Care Week Website (Click the image for more information)

Hear from our Chaplain and Spiritual Support Staff

"When I think about my role as a hospice chaplain, so many things come to mind. I have been blessed to be honored to participate in the lives of so many people across the many years of my hospice career. At an intimate time in their life, people have invited me to participate in their story. At their bedside, sometimes in the very home they built, surrounded by those they love, I am honored to see what made their story. I see the pictures and hear the story of the young nurse, the young soldier, the youthful laborer, the aspiring businessman, finding love, and I hear how they overcame so many obstacles in life. At times, they also share the story of their journey with illness. My role is to offer a supportive spiritual presence that hopefully helps patient’s, family, and staff connect with God, their faith, and what is meaningful to them. I am privileged to hear and feel their emotions, words, and thoughts abut this stage of life. In my younger days I owned a landscaping business.

Throughout my career, I have often reflected on that image. My role is to be the Sacred Gardner if you will. I am called to cultivate and gently probe the more sensitive areas of life: suffering, loss, faith, hope, and meaning. Careful care produces beautiful plants and reveal their beauty and strength. Roses are difficult to nurture, but produce beautiful results. In the first house we owned, the man who built the house planted Italian roses from Italy when they immigrated his son told me. They were dying, but with careful care in the midst of dying, I was able to revive them enough to produce beauty every year. Before we moved, his family was able to take cuttings to preserve their family history from 100 years ago!

Just like I saw plants grow and be transformed by light, darkness, water, and dryness, I too have seen people begin to be transformed, for example, as they gather inner personal, family and spiritual strength in the midst of terrible loss. What does serving as a chaplain mean to me? I find as I give out I take in, and I too as the “Gardner of the Soul” I have been changed and transformed as I have experienced growth - a new appreciation for life, the value of relationships, the need for compassion and empathy in times of my losses, and most of all spiritual hope in the midst of hopelessness - I am transformed in the midst of trauma and crisis!"

"To me, being a Chaplain is a culmination of relational life experiences with God, my Mom (a former Grane Hospice patient) and Grane (Volunteer Department, at Home, Hospice and Bereavement and Chaplain Services). This position of Chaplain is central to the core of my purpose and being as a person on this life journey. God has taught me that he is a “man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3) and that he has gifted me in this area to serve Grane Hospice and our patients and families. It is such a privilege and honor to serve in this capacity.

I’m thankful to God, Mom, and Grane Hospice for this gift of love, grace, and service to others in need of spiritual comfort and care. Thank you!"

"If someone were to ask me what it means to me to be a hospice chaplain, I think my initial response might be, 'What a great question!'

Inside my heart and mind, I may be wondering, 'Kind of like asking why birds fly or the sky is blue...' At times when people hear that someone is a hospice chaplain, the glowing response is something like, 'It takes a special person...' Perhaps.

Yet, God has made all of us special people, each wired uniquely to have meaningful influence in whatever sphere of life we may be in. As an inter-faith chaplain, I know that the One in whom I have faith with has made me just the person I need to be to help others actively engage in their own faith during a very difficult time. For me, it is to care deeply, to feel compassionately, and to offer comforting presence that may help someone and their loved ones more gracefully navigate one of the most meaningful times in life. For me, that is something the Special One does in the hospice chaplain so that the journey may be more meaningful and manageable for those who may feel they are being overwhelmed by waves of confusion, pain, or grief. It is an incredible privilege to be trusted to come alongside during such a profoundly personal family time, and perhaps help others experience their particular faith more deeply, with more hope, than ever before.

Maybe we all experience comfort and strength knowing that the Unseen One is loving and present, eager to help anyone with well-placed faith to be special persons in whatever sphere of life they may be entrusted.

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