At the Cancer Center, we recognize that meeting our patients’ spiritual and religious needs is often an important part of caring for the whole person. The Spiritual Care Department at Mass General is committed to providing spiritual care to patients and families. Ministry is available to people of all faiths, as well as those of no religious affiliation. Our oncology chaplain, specializing in and familiar with the unique needs of those with cancer, is available weekdays during daytime hours.

Frequent situations to which chaplains are called include:

  • Patients/families in spiritual distress
  • New diagnosis
  • Treatment decision-making process
  • Changing the goals of care from curative to palliative
  • End-of-life issues

Chaplains sustain, support, guide and help people in their search for meaning in illness and for reconciliation in relationships. 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. Spiritual care of patients/families is always done in collaboration with the multidisciplinary care team.

Regular services, of both interfaith and tradition-specific forms, are offered at the Mass General Chapel. Other services as well as traditional and seasonal religious observances may be provided upon request.


A message from oncology chaplain, Katrina Scott, MDiv, BCC

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be a member of the multi-disciplinary health-care team at the Cancer Center. As Oncology Chaplain, my goal is to support and nourish the spiritual resources of patients and families throughout their cancer experience. As a daughter and a spouse of cancer patients, I have come to appreciate the special circumstances of living with and negotiating the limitations of illness while trying to keep a sense of self.

A holistic approach to healing calls for total care, including body, mind and spirit. Life-altering concerns are at the heart of many health issues, especially after diagnosis: You might ask “Why me?” or “How will I cope?” Belief systems provide frameworks for making sense of existence; they suggest ways of responding to ultimate questions of meaning. While not everyone follows a religion, existential or spiritual issues, in this wider sense, arise for almost all oncology patients and speak to questions of meaning, our desire to understand how we fit into life. People find their spirituality helps them to cope with illnesses, traumas, losses, and life transitions. Each person has their own experience of cancer, and spiritual care involves supporting a patient’s/family’s beliefs, which may include following a particular religion, having a relationship with a higher power or simple wonder at life’s mysteries.

I am honored to be part of the Cancer Center, where compassionate care leads to a human connection, where healing and hope are possible each day.

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