Catholic students pray for St. Mary's young patients

March 15, 2011


Pediatric patients of St. Mary's Health System of Evansville, Ind., have a powerful new support system: They're on the prayer lists of thousands of Catholic students and teachers.

The prayer project began in January through a collaboration between St. Mary's and the Catholic Diocese of Evansville. Each week, St. Mary's provides 26 Evansville Catholic schools with information about the hospital's pediatric patients, including the patients' age, gender and diagnosis. Patient names are not disclosed. The schools share the list with their teachers, who take time during the week with their students, to pray for the patients. The hospitalized children also are remembered in prayers before sporting events.

About 6,500-plus students and 600 staff members are praying for the patients on the list. Eric Girten, manager of St. Mary's Community Outreach department, said the project creates "an opportunity for the children in our Catholic schools to reach beyond themselves and support someone in prayer who they will never likely meet, thus increasing their awareness of the needs of others."

Girten said St. Mary's lets its patients and their families know Evansville students and teachers are praying for them. "It is everyone's hope that, above all, this partnership will be a spiritual and emotional support, as well as a healing effort for our patients and their families during an often-difficult time in their lives."

St. Mary's modeled the prayer project, which it calls Partners in Healing, after a similar program at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital, part of St. Vincent Health in Indianapolis.


Copyright © 2011 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
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