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Our readers asked:

How do I get a Catholic hospital chaplain to visit my father in the hospital?

Richard G. Malloy, SJ Answers:

Question: How do I get a Catholic hospital chaplain to visit my father in the hospital?  With the Hippa laws, they don’t send them over anymore.

Very easy. Every hospital I have ever been in has a pastoral care dept. or chaplains’ office. Ask your nurse for the number. Call them and tell them you would like your father to be visited by the priest or Eucharistic minister. Also, if you are near your home parish, call the rectory and inform them your father is in the hospital.
Know that priests and pastoral ministers cannot read peoples’ minds. Be ready and willing to share with them the level of involvement with the church that the ill person usually maintains. It is awkward to be asked to bring communion to “Dad” by a fervently practicing Catholic son or daughter when “Dad” hasn’t received in years and doesn’t want to receive now. An offer of a talk about God and one’s relationship with one’s practice of the faith may be indicated at this time more than the bringing of the sacraments.

The Author : Richard G. Malloy, SJ
Richard G. Malloy, S.J., Ph.D., is Vice President for University Ministries, the University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, and author of A Faith That Frees (Orbis Books).
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