Pastoral Care

What is Pastoral Care?

Pastoral Care at Saint Francis Medical Center provides spiritual and emotional care to patients, families and staff. It supports the Healthcare System’s mission of healing and meets the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations’ standards that state, “Patients have a fundamental right to considerate care that safeguards their personal dignity and respects their cultural, psychosocial and spiritual values.”

Pastoral Care in Cape Girardeau

Professional Chaplains

Pastoral Care’s professional chaplains are theologically, psychosocially, and clinically trained clergy or laypersons whose work reflects:

  • Sensitivity to multicultural and multi-faith realities
  • Respect for patients’ spiritual and religious preferences
  • Understanding of the impact illness may have on individuals and their caregivers
  • Knowledge of healthcare organizational structure and dynamics
  • Accountability as part of a professional patient care team, participating in medical rounds, patient care conferences and charting spiritual care interventions in medical charts

Services for all Faiths

Pastoral Care’s professional chaplains reach across all faith group boundaries and provide supportive spiritual care to people in distress through:

  • Risk screening to identify individuals with religious/spiritual conflicts that may compromise their recovery or satisfactory adjustment
  • Facilitation of spiritual issues related to organ/tissue donation
  • Crisis intervention/critical stress debriefing
  • Conflict resolution among staff, patients and family members
  • Pre- and post-surgical visits
  • Staff support of personal crisis or work stress
  • Organizational support during Medical Center changes or crisis
  • Pastoral counseling

Ceremonies of Worship and Ritual

The priest and professional chaplains in Cape Girardeau design and lead religious ceremonies of worship and offer services including:

  • Mass in the Saint Francis Chapel, which is held Monday through Friday at 11 am. Services can be viewed on Channel 22 in patients’ rooms.
  • Sacraments (baptism at the time of birth or as requested by adults or family)

Scripture readings are done daily at 8 am and 8 pm through overhead announcement.

Pastoral Care also supports Perpetual Adoration, which is staffed by more than 300 volunteers from the community, who pray for all the needs of the Medical Center 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in the Adoration Chapel.

Mission, Ethics and Education

Pastoral Care consults with staff and patients about ethical concerns, especially those related to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. They also educate the healthcare team and community about the relationship between religious/spiritual issues and Medical Center services in the following ways:

  • Ministerial alliance participation
  • Making presentations concerning spirituality and health issues
  • Mission integration activities and orientation of new employees (i.e., history, tradition, philosophy, and values)


Call 573-331-5146 or email to learn more about Pastoral Care at Saint Francis Medical Center.