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The Office of Interfaith Pastoral and Spiritual Care at Children’s National Medical Center

Memory Tree created by parents at the Memorial Service on June 6, 2010
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 the patients and patient families in accessing spiritual strengths and resources.  Chaplains offer care and support when patients and their families search for meaning in the midst of 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.

Sacrament, ritual, services, workshops, and memorials, which assist in the integration of grieving and loss, are offered for patients, families, and staff.

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.

 The Office of Interfaith Pastoral and Spiritual Care at Children’s             National Medical Center
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)

The Office of Interfaith Pastoral and Spiritual Care offers many resources to patients and patient families.
• Grace Notes – Daily meditative/inspirational message for subscribed staff.
• Monthly pastoral and spiritual care newsletter – Monthly newsletter highlighting diverse religious and spiritual celebrations and observances.
• Caring Thoughts – Booklets available in the chapels:
• Being Glad
• Coping with Chronic Pain or Illness
•  Guilt
•  In the Hospital Again?!
•  Loss pf Control
•  Meditations and Prayers (updated weekly)
•  Others soon available
•  Pain
  •  Prayer in the Midst of Anger
•  Sadness
•  When Prayers Go Unanswered
•  When Your Child is Facing Surgery or a Serious Procedure
•  Why?
•   Worry
•  Your First Stay in the Hospital
•  Your Hospital Chaplain

Resources for Clergy and Congregations
•  Bibliography

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The Office of Interfaith Pastoral and Spiritual Care at Children’s National Medical Center
Bereavement Support
Through the Grief, Loss, and Remembrance program, we offer support to patients, patient families and staff through a variety of resources and other services.

The Office of Interfaith Pastoral and Spiritual Care provides a number of training programs, including:
  • Supervised Ministry – a course where seminarians complete supervised clinical work at Children’s National.
  • Pastoral Ministry in the Pediatric Clinical Care Environment – a program focused on religious professionals to deepen their understanding and skill in providing care to families.
  • Undergraduate Semester in Hospital Ministry - a program co-sponsored by The Catholic University of America.

Staff members also are trained in the role of the professional chaplain, religious/spiritual screening and assessment, and other topics. One of our goals is to expand training opportunities to varied populations within the geographic area and across the nation.

  • Revered 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. Named as Dean to the Pediatric Chaplain’s Institute in the fall of 2013.
  • Kathleen Ennis-Durstine, senior chaplain presented at the most recent Pediatric Chaplains Network Conference.
  • Kathleen Ennis-Durstine and former chaplain Janie Brooks co-authored a chapter for an upcoming textbook on palliative care of the pediatric patient edited by Joanne Wolfe, MD, et al.

Contact Information
  • Chaplains are available 24/7. 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.

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