Mission and Scope of Services
'A presence in time of trouble, A ministry of hope and spiritual support'
At the MGH we recognize that meeting spiritual and religious needs is an important part of caring for the whole person. To respond to these needs, the hospital offers the services of our Chaplaincy. The Chaplaincy Department is committed to providing spiritual care to patients and families, to the staff and to the institution as a whole. Ministry is available to people of all faiths and to those of no religious affiliation. We are also committed to education and training through the provision of Clinical Pastoral Education Program accredited by the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE).
The Chaplaincy Department has grown to be as diverse as the metropolitan population of the MGH. Today Roman Catholic priests, Protestant clergy, an officiant of Ethical Culture, a Rabbi, an Imam, a group of Buddhist practitioners, and a number of lay people share in service to patients, families, and staff. Chaplains specializing in Oncology and Pediatrics are available weekdays during daytime hours. Representatives of other religious traditions from the community may be contacted through our office as well.
MGH chaplains provide religious ministry and spiritual support to patients and their families; a ministry for, and consultation to, hospital staff; and serve as liaisons between the hospital and visiting clergy, seminarians, and lay visitors. Pastoral care of patients, families, and staff helps people faced with illness and hospitalization remember that they belong to God and their community. Chaplains sustain, support, guide, and help people in their search for meaning in illness and for reconciliation in relationships.
Pastoral care is shared by trained professional Chaplains, trained and supervised lay persons, clergy and seminary students as well as other MGH health care professionals. Chaplains respond to members of their own as well as other’s religious traditions in ways connected with the religious traditions of the persons seeking ministry. Chaplains offer consultation and counsel regarding spiritual, emotional and ethical matters. They support by listening without judging, sharing without preaching, and offering the resources of tradition, sacraments, scripture, ritual, and personal presence.
Regular services, of both interfaith and tradition-specific forms, are offered in the MGH Chapel. Weddings, baptisms, memorial services and other traditional and seasonal religious observances may be provided upon request. The MGH Chaplaincy provides spiritual care to patients of all ages and their families, and to all staff members.
Frequent situations to which chaplains are called include:
Spiritual care responds to spiritual needs such as faith, hope, love, trust, forgiveness, and meaning, as well as to religious ritual needs. Using the language and framework of meaning of the other person, whether religious or secular, the Chaplain seeks to enable the person to identify and draw on her/his own spiritual strengths in facing present circumstances. Spiritual care of patients/families is always done in collaboration with the multidisciplinary care team. Chaplains frequently offer spiritual care to staff members around stressful patient care situations and personal life events.