The MGH Chaplaincy Department is now the Spiritual Care Department, a name change that reflects the broad nature of the services offered by the department’s nearly three dozen professional chaplains. Working in collaboration with clinical care teams, chaplains respond to referrals and consults and visit patients and families throughout the hospital.

“Our chaplains sustain, support, guide and help people in their search for meaning in illness; for self-worth and belonging to community; and for reconciliation in relationships,” says Rev. Alice Cabotaje, MDiv, BCC, ACPE, interim director of Spiritual Care and Education. “They offer consultation and counsel regarding spiritual, emotional and ethical matters. Support is provided by listening without judging, sharing without preaching, and offering the resources of tradition, sacraments, scripture, ritual and personal presence.”

The work of chaplains extends far beyond the bedside, says Cabotaje. They also facilitate compassionate care rounds and resiliency rounds for staff; serve on committees within the hospital and in the greater Boston area; and serve as spiritual care providers, consultants, advisors and educators for national and local organizations. The range of services provided by the Spiritual Care Department was showcased throughout this week in recognition of National Spiritual Care Week (Oct. 22-27). The department hosted healing prayer sessions, a Jewish new moon blessing, Buddhist meditation, Muslim prayer sessions, hand massages and educational opportunities.

“As a clinician, I have seen how providing spiritual care can help give meaning and a purpose to life, providing hope and offering a source of strength,” says Barbara Cashavelly, RN, nurse director on Lunder 9. “Time and again, I have called on my colleagues in the Spiritual Care Department to offer support to people coping with illness, loss or grief; to help them to heal emotionally and regain a sense of spiritual well-being.”

To learn more, or to request a visit with a chaplain, call the Spiritual Care Department at (617) 726-2220.

This article was originally published in the 10/27/17 Hotline issue.