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Providing Comfort And Strength
During Your Hospital Stay

This brochure is designed to help patients and their families and friends during their stay at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Presbyterian Medical Center, UPHS. It provides information about the services of the Department of Pastoral Care and the role of the hospital chaplain, and it offers some Comforting Thoughts and Prayers for patients.

Your Hospital Chaplain

Being sick or injured can be frightening and emotionally draining. In addition to your medical care, our hospitals make available emotional and spiritual care for you and your loved ones. Your chaplain is available to listen, to comfort, and to help you draw upon your religious or spiritual strength. Chaplains are available for emergencies at any time.


Your hospital chaplain respects your religious tradition and personal experiences. Whatever our own denominations may be, chaplains come to support rather than to persuade. We also welcome the involvement of your home clergy while you are being cared for here.

We will be glad to help you contact clergy of any faith to visit and comfort you and your family.

At the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP):

Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania chaplains are assigned to every inpatient area of the hospital, and a chaplain is on duty in the hospital 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week. Chaplains can visit you or help you contact your faith group. To reach a chaplain during business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00am - 4:00pm, call 215-662-2591. At other times the chaplain may be paged through the hospital operator by dialing 215-662-4000 or "0" on your hospital phone. The nursing staff can also help you call for a chaplain.

The Interfaith Chapel at the hospital is located on the first floor of the Dulles Building and is open continuously for meditation. Patients, families, and staff are invited to attend our interfaith prayer services, held weekdays from 12:00 - 12:15pm. On sundays, an ecumenical service is held from 10:30 - 11:00am.

At the Presbyterian Medical Center (PMC):

The chaplain for the Presbyterian Medical Center may be reached Monday through Friday, 8:00am - 4:30pm by calling 215-662-9490. In cases of emergency, during evenings and weekends, the chaplain may be paged through the hospital operator by dialing 215-662-8000 or "0" on your hospital phone. The nursing staff can help you contact the chaplain and can also help you contact your own clergy.

The McCahan Chapel, located off the Wright-Saunders Lobby, is open 24-hours-a-day for meditation.

Particular Faith Groups

Pastoral care for particular faith groups is coordinated through the Chaplain's Office (for HUP patients, please call 215-662-2591; for PMC patients, please call 215-662-9490).

ROMAN CATHOLIC: Priests and eucharistic ministers from the parish church of St. Agatha - St. James work through the Chaplain's Office to visit patients identified as Roman Catholic. Holy Communion is available through the priests and eucharistic ministers who visit regularly, Sunday through Friday, and are available for emergencies.

JEWISH: The Chaplain's Office coordinates requests for a rabbi through our own staff and the Jewish Chaplaincy Program of Jewish Family and Children's Services. Kosher meals are available upon request from the hospital's food services.

MUSLIM: Muslim pastoral care is provided in consultation with Islamic Pastoral Care of the Delaware Valley. Special arrangements are available during the month of Ramadan.

The Chaplain's Office may also call designated contact persons and clergy from various faith groups, including those of EPISCOPAL, JEHOVAH'S WITNESS, and BUDDHIST groups.


We hope you find comfort in these thoughts:

Being hospitalized brings into awareness the mysteries of life and death. I am aware that the power of healing is as much an art as it is a science.
As I struggle to overcome my illness, I am mindful of the finitude of the most precious parts of our creation. The rose lasts a few days. The mighty oak lasts a few hundred years. No one can say with absolute certainty what the span of my life shall be.
May my healers find the power to restore my health, my well-being. And may I continue to be thankful for each grace-filled moment when I feel connected to the wondrous creation.


We hope you find comfort in the following prayers. You may request scriptures, informative and inspirational readings, and prayers for particular religious traditions, from the chaplains.

The Twenty-Third Psalm

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He maketh me lie down in green pastures;
He leadeth me beside the still waters;
He restoreth my soul.
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me;
Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Serenity Prayer

O God, give us the courage to accept with serenity the things we cannot change. Give us the courage to change the things that should be changed. And give us the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

For Strength to Cope

O God, You know my feelings. You know that I want to feel better. I want to be better. I want to have my health restored. But the hours of testing, the days of diagnosis, and question marks concerning my future seem nearly more than I can take! Grant me, O God, the strength to face each hour of this and every day. In fact, when it seems that I cannot face even this hour, fill me with sufficient strength to face the next five minutes. Amen.

Before Surgery

O God, You are with me in my moments of strength and of weakness. You know the trembling of my heart as the turning point draws near. Grant wisdom and skill to the mind and hands of those who will operate on me, and those who assist them. Grant that I may return to fullness of life and wholeness of strength, not for my sake alone but for those about me. Enable me to complete my days on earth with dignity and purpose. May I awaken to know the breadth of Your healing power, now and evermore.

For Healing

Dear Lord, You are the great physician. I turn to you in my sickness, asking you for help. I put myself under Your loving care, praying that I may know Your healing grace and wholeness. Help me to find love in this strange world and to feel Your presence by my bed both day and night. Give my doctors and nurses wisdom, that they may understand my illness. Steady and guide them with your strong hand. Reach out Your hand to me and touch my life with Your peace. Amen.