Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the priests, and let the priests pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. - James 5:14
Visiting parishioners, especially those who are ill, is one of the great joys of my priesthood. On that note, I have always been impressed by the cooperation between our local hospital and the local parishes. The Spiritual Care department (at the hospital) has been good about contacting us when a parishioner is admitted to the hospital, and the staff chaplains have always been good about contacting a priest to provide Sacramental care for Catholic patients. Furthermore, the priests of St. Joseph have always been very well-coordinated to provide coverage if one's pastor is away.
Recent changes in the Spiritual Care department at the hospital may impact that coverage. While the spiritual care department will continue, they may no longer have a 24-7 chaplain on-duty in the hospital. After "business hours", Nursing staff will be responsible for contacting priests to provide sacramental care for Catholic patients. While our nurses are great people who provide wonderful care according to their training, I want to be sure you know that you (or your loved ones) can always contact St. James directly to request a visit from a priest. If you call during parish business hours, the parish office will dispatch a priest as soon as possible. If you call when the office is closed (and you can call 24-7 if it is a true emergency!), you will be directed to "press 4" for the priest emergency line. If a priest does not pick up, please wait for the voicemail and clearly state your name, your room number, if in the hospital, or your address, if at home, and a phone number at which you can be contacted. A priest will return your call immediately. While we continue to work in cooperation with the Spiritual Care department, we want you to know that you can reach out to us directly, and in some cases, that may be the best course of action to contact a priest. - Fr. Totton