Board-certified chaplains comprise the core of the Interfaith and Spiritual Care staff at Children’s National. Clinically trained on-call chaplains are available to patients, families, and staff 24/7 for support, education, ritual, and consultation. A Spanish speaking chaplain is also available 20 hours per week.
Chaplains are spiritual and pastoral counselors who work with patients and families to access spiritual strengths and resources. Chaplains offer care and support when patients and their families search for meaning in the midst of illness and hospitalization. In addition, chaplains can be advocates for families and patients whose traditions, practices, and values are important in daily life and in decision-making.
Chaplains educate nurses, interns, residents, fellows, faculty, and other staff in being culturally/spiritually sensitive and appropriate. Children’s National chaplains are frequent presenters at national gatherings for the Pediatric Chaplains Network, and other local and national organizations.
Our team offers sacrament, ritual, services, workshops, and memorials to assist in the integration of grieving and loss.
Weekly Services Offered
Catholic mass is held Thursdays at noon and Saturdays at 4:00 pm in the Main Chapel (room 3201 – third floor, main hospital).
Children’s National understands that families may need a quiet space for prayer or meditation during their visit or stay at the hospital. Our chapels are open to patients, families, and staff for pastoral and spiritual care 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Recognizing the religious and spiritual diversity of our patients, families, and staff, our chapels primarily represent the traditions of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, and Islam. Upon request, the staff chaplains can provide rosaries, electric Sabbath candles, prayer rugs, and holy books for each faith community.
History of the Chapels
The original chapel was donated by the family of William Edward Farr Sharon in his memory and was dedicated in June 1977. In the early 2000s, the chapel was moved from the Main Atrium to the third floor of the Main Hospital. The stain-glassed windows were designed to communicate a sense of life, love, and compassion. These windows were a gift from the Board of Lady Visitors and created by a friend of the Sharon family.
The East Inpatient Tower Chapel was originally a conference room for the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), but was converted into a chapel after the PICU staff offered up the space for families to have a space for prayer or meditation closer to their children’s units.
Locations of the Chapels
The Main Chapel is located in room 3201, third floor, main building.
The East Inpatient Tower Chapel is located in room 3303, third floor.
The Memory Tree, a Japanese red split-leaf maple, is a living memorial for our families. Each year, the team hosts an annual remembrance event, giving families an opportunity to make something to hang on the tree in memory of their child. The Memory Tree was purchased in 2010 and continues to grow and thrive in front of the hospital’s Michigan Avenue entrance.
Reverend Kathleen Ennis-Durstine, senior chaplain, has been appointed as a faculty member and a curriculum developer to the Pediatric Chaplains Institute, which is offered to pediatric professional chaplains yearly in a one-week intensive course. Rev. Ennis-Durstine was named as Dean to the Pediatric Chaplain’s Institute in the fall of 2013.
Reverend Kathleen Ennis-Durstine also presented at the most recent Pediatric Chaplains Network Conference. Additionally, Reverend Kathleen Ennis-Durstine co-authored a chapter for an upcoming textbook on palliative care of the pediatric patient edited by Joanne Wolfe, MD, et al.
Our chaplains are available 24 hours, seven days a week.
- The senior chaplain and manager, Rev. Kathleen Ennis-Durstine, is on site on the Sheikh Zayed campus Monday–Friday, 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, room 4201, 202-476-3321
- Margarita Roque, Spanish language staff chaplain, room 4115, 202-476-2626. (Tuesday and Thursday mornings, all day Wednesday, and Sunday evenings)
- Rev. Eliezer Oliveira, staff chaplain fluent in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, room 4155, 202-476-5050
- Rev. Sonna Schambach, staff chaplain, room 4155, 202-476-6736