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Pastoral Care

Our commitment to compassionate care for the “whole” person

Commitment to Compassionate Care

Pastoral care is of prime importance at Calvary Hospital and represents our commitment to compassionate care for the “whole” person. The Hospital has a staff of 24 chaplains, who represent the three major faith traditions and many others, to care for our inpatients and home hospice patients. Calvary Hospital has affiliations with chaplains of all faiths, such as Buddhism and Islam, who can be called upon as needed to minister to our patients. We also have several Spanish-speaking chaplains on staff. Many of our chaplains are Board-certified and have participated in Clinical Pastoral Education.

Calvary Hospital is very respectful of all wishes regarding pastoral care, including opt-outs. We understand that spirituality and religion are extremely personal, and also know that spirituality may take on a special importance for people facing the end of life. Our chaplains can also be helpful to those who may have been alienated from their faith tradition but seek some measure of reconnection at the end of life.

Pastoral Care Providers are in the Hospital 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our staff is multilingual. We are available to serve you in many languages including but not limited to Spanish, Hebrew, Yiddish, and Italian. Other languages are available through a translation service.

For more information, please call 718-518-2000, ext. 2173

Worship

Calvary Hospital’s Bronx campus has a beautiful interfaith chapel, which is always open for quiet reflection and prayer. We also have our own Ark and Torah for use in our Jewish services. Mass is celebrated every day, and there is a Jewish service every Friday to welcome the Sabbath. All religious programs and services are available throughout the day on the televisions in each patient’s room, on Channel 20.

We offer a wide variety of religious practices such as the sharing of appropriate liturgy, scripture, sacrament, prayer and worship. We are available for pastoral counseling and quiet listening—hearing, seeing, being—in your moments of deepest feeling or concerns of the heart. In sharing and understanding your spiritual issues, our Chaplains offer to help you come to greater peace with yourself, with others and with your God.

Spiritual Care: Integral to CalvaryCare®

As an Integral part of CalvaryCare®, and with the guiding principles of body-mind-spirit symbiosis, the Department of Spiritual Care is committed to providing inclusively compassionate care to every patient and family consistent with their worldview or religious traditions, and sensitive to their socio economic and immigration status, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Diversity and inclusion are core to our practice in providing care. We are profoundly aware of the times we live and sensitive to the reality of race, religion, and ethnicity factors at play in the cultural and social life of the population we serve. Spiritual Care providers at Calvary are trained to offer religiously and culturally-competent support to patients and families.

Inclusively Compassionate and Holistic
Given Calvary’s mission of non-abandonment, the department of spiritual care liaises with the clinical team in providing care in a relational way to patients and families. Our clinically trained staff consisting of men and women from diverse racial, ethnic, and religious background operate from an integrated holistic worldview evolved from life experiences and professional training. While we are attuned to address existential distress and spiritual pan, our task could also be as seemingly simple deeds as that of offering a ‘shoulder to lean on, a gentle touch, a hand to hold, someone to talk to’ or responding to the specific needs of a grieving multi-ethnic and multi-religious family requesting a ‘non-denominational’ prayer of closure at the death of their loved one. It could also be the process of journeying with patients; some gratefully savoring the gift of life they lived and the one they await- ‘the reward,’ while others trying to untangle the knots of their complex life experiences searching for meaning. There are many unanswered existential questions that perhaps were seldom raised in good health or ill health in the past seem to gain new significance during end of life times which requires active listening and compassionately non-judgmental presence.

Reminiscing life experiences: validation and affirmation
Experiences of life both uplifting and painful that were previously processed through the prism of one’s belief, values, and/or faith-based principles may come under fresh challenge and review during the end-of-life-care environment. As spiritual care providers by our active listening and non-judgmental presence try to validate the life experiences of patients and families as they try to find meaning and peace. Far from pushing our own agenda, we are on a shared journey with patients and families helping them to cut their own paths and to drink from their own wells; drawing strength from their own inner resources and faith traditions. It is about providing space and opportunity for patients to reminisce about their life experiences leading them to the realization that life is more than its binaries of pain and pleasure, loss and gain, fear and courage, praise and blame, or fame and disgrace. From a role perspective, a pastoral care provider could be a friend, a counselor, a sounding board, a catalyst, or a fellow journeyer to patients and families during their stay at Calvary.

Interfaith Chapel
Our Bronx campus has an interfaith chapel which is always open to patients, families, and staff. Catholic Eucharist is celebrated daily and sacraments are made available for patients, families, and staff. The Eucharist and all religious services are televised to every room in the hospital. Protestant and Jewish services are offered on Sundays and Fridays respectively.

Jewish spiritual care support

CalvaryCare® for Jewish patients and families include a comprehensive range of spiritual care needs of every patient and family both ritually and culturally. Three rabbis care for Jewish patients and families in accordance with Jewish law. Kosher meals from Calvary’s Nutritional Services , a self-service Kosher food pantry including cholov yisroel dairy products are available at our Bronx campus, a self-service Kosher food pantry at the Bronx campus, the Shabbat lounge, for observant families and celebrations related to specific Jewish holidays are all part of CalvaryCare® service.

  • To view the Jewish spiritual care brochure, please click here.

In 2016, Calvary completed the restoration of a sacred 136-year-old Torah scroll housed at the Hospital’s Bronx campus.

Clinical Pastoral Education

Pastoral Care ProgramThe Calvary Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program offers level I and level II education under the standards of the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education. The program provides interfaith, multicultural clinical pastoral care training to those who wish to become certified as professional spiritual care providers. The program offers two accelerated part-time units a year and a full-time summer unit.

For further information about Clinical Pastoral Education at Calvary please call (347) 296-0633 ext. 2123.

Bereavement Services

Our continuing Pastoral Care includes Memorial Services, Bereavement Support Groups, individual counseling and “Precious Moments,” an after-school program for grieving children ages 6-11. Calvary Hospital is also a center for bereavement education for the community and clinicians. For information, call the Director of Bereavement Services, or ask your Pastoral Care Provider or Social Worker.

For further information about Bereavement Support, please call 718-518-2000, ext. 2125.


Pastoral Care Providers are in the Hospital 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our staff is multilingual. We are available to serve you in many languages including but not limited to Spanish, Hebrew, Yiddish, and Italian. Other languages are available through a translation service.

For more information, please call:

718-518-2000, ext. 2173

T.A. John Thoonunkal
Director, Pastoral Care Services
There are many unanswered existential questions that perhaps were seldom raised in good health or ill health in the past seem to gain new significance during end of life times.

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