faith

October 22-28 is a time to recognize the spiritual needs of those we serve and the spiritual care given through professional chaplaincy and pastoral counseling within our communities. Chaplains, pastoral care counselors, educators and care providers will share in this year’s theme, “Hospitality: Cultivating Inclusion.”

Regardless of spiritual, religious or cultural background, Pastoral Care Week celebrates those who provide spiritual support to others.  It is supported by the Coalition On Ministry In Specialized Settings Network:  The Network on Ministries in Specialized Settings, whose members provide care in specialized settings such as hospitals, prisons, businesses, industries, long-term care facilities, pastoral counseling centers, hospices, military settings, nursing homes, corporations, congregations of sisters, priests and brothers, schools and universities throughout the world. 

Pastoral/spiritual care is important for individuals’ sense of identity as they find meaning in belonging to a common humanity and particular cultures. The idea of our sharing  a preciousness as human beings has found its source in religious, philosophical and societal communities.  Sadly for some, defining the “other” has been a desperate attempt to exclude those who are different.  Hospitality as practiced by so many cultures and religions breaks through walls of alienation and marginalization which deny human belonging. Welcoming, understanding, and celebrating the place of those who have been isolated makes for a wonderfully diverse expression of community. Cultivating (growing and nurturing) attitudes and actions of inclusion means that people are cared for as valuable members of the human family. 

 

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Christmas reflection: grace

Thursday, December 24, 2015

in News

“Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11 

We knew only his name, not his story. Leon, just 37 years old, was one of those rootless souls who, by life’s violent incisions, become severed from their history and their future. He had come to us from a local boarding home, comatose and dying. He came with no friend or family to attend his imminent passage. So, through the night of Christmas Eve, Kathy, a young, off-duty nurse, sat silently with Leon, adamant that he should not die alone.

Leon had a quiet death. Very little changed in him except for stilled breathing and the relaxed mask that follows expiration. It was Kathy who changed. In that sterile hospital room, grey-lit with early morning, the palpable breath of God embraced her. She knew, and from that Christmas moment will always know, that all life beats within the Divine Heart; that we are sacred and immortal within its mysterious rhythm.

Over these celebratory days, we will orchestrate a series of Christmas moments in our decorations, carols, gifts and feasts. We will visit our treasured memories and revered mangers. We will be blessed by the love of family and friends who are the face of Christ to us.

May we also receive this singular grace: to know that any true Christmas moment comes only when the Spirit of Christ passes through us into the heart of another person. To receive this grace, we may, like Kathy, need to sit in a silent room with a dying stranger. We may need to welcome that ostracized family member who has carelessly injured us. We may need to rediscover, in our own quiet contrition, the radiant Gospel commitment that has paled in us.

Meister Eckhart, seven centuries ago, sought such a Christmas moment:

Today we celebrate the Eternal Birth
which God the Father has borne
and never ceases to bear in all eternity.
But if it takes not place in me, what avails it?
Everything lies in this, that it should take place in me.

Written by Sr. Renee Yann, RSM, D. Min. Catholic Health Association (CHA) has produced a reflection for each week of Advent and a Christmas reflection. We hope they will become a source of comfort, joy and inspiration.

Copyright 2015 Catholic Health Association of the United States.

Advent reflection: hope fulfilled

Sunday, December 20, 2015

“O Radiant Dawn, come and shine on those who dwell in the darkness of the shadow of death.” O Antiphon – December 21

Have you ever been told not to get your hopes too high? The kind admonisher is trying to protect you. But you, like all human beings, still hope for everything, no matter the odds!
What [more…]

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Advent reflection: finding joy

Monday, December 14, 2015

“The Lord, your God … will rejoice over you with gladness.” Zephaniah 3:17
Is there a difference between happiness and joy? Walking through the Med-Surg area, the chaplain juggled that question. He had just left Betty whose test results had proven benign. Her reaction still echoed in his mind. Like someone waking from a bad dream, she [more…]

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Advent reflection: A channel for holiness

Sunday, December 6, 2015

“From you rose the Sun of Justice, Christ our God.” Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe – Lectionary: 690A
There are a few places where nature offers an experience of darkness so absolute it can be terrifying. Assateague Island lies along the barrier coast of Virginia. On a winter night, darkness there feels complete, enveloping. As evening [more…]

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Advent reflection: Transforming humanness into glory

Sunday, November 29, 2015

“On that day, the Lord will bind up the wounds of his people.” Isaiah 30:26
Christine is a beautiful woman, inside and out. She is as vital as fresh air or summer sun. She is successful, strong, sincere and faith-filled. But her heart is a fragile, hidden glass, ready to break at any moment, from a family member’s [more…]

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