Franciscan Alliance Expands Spiritual Care Services to Cyberspace

By: Franciscan Health Last Updated: October 22, 2013

Pastoral-Care-WeekFranciscan Alliance’s certified chaplains are reaching beyond hospital walls to their websites to offer a new resource to those in need of a spiritual helping hand.

An E-Chaplaincy program, launched Oct. 21 in conjunction with the observance of Pastoral Care Week, offers outpatients and the public another resource to have their concerns addressed, through an initial e-mail request.

The Rev. Anthony Janik, spiritual care services director at Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Crown Point, who was involved in formulation of the program, said it expands chaplains’ opportunities to deal with spiritual distress issues and assistance requests.

We can help people find answers to their grief and depression, to their concerns over chronic illnesses, end-of-life issues, crises of faith, or their intentions for loved ones who may be ill or have been in an accident. We can help by offering coping mechanisms; we want to help bring a resolution to their difficulty.

Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Dyer chaplain Augustine Duru, who originated the proposal locally, said he learned of similar programs being conducted elsewhere and thought the idea would well serve Franciscan Alliance, as time and technology have evolved.

I thought our system could benefit from electronic platforms for in-house and outpatients and the community in general. This creates a listening ear; another opportunity for engagement and outreach, for people we can’t reach physically,” Duru said, adding, “We offer prayer, support and confidentiality for people when they need it most.

To become certified, chaplains must complete one year of clinical pastoral education training, followed by continuing education and recertification every five years.

E-mail contact forms are available by visiting the websites of Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Crown Point, Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Michigan City, Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Dyer and Hammond and Franciscan Healthcare-Munster. Visitors should click on “Patients & Visitors” and then on “e-chaplaincy,” found on the left side of the page, under “As A Patient.”

Chaplains are available daily to compile requests and to respond as needed.

Hospital websites include: