“The simplest and most practical lesson I know … is to resolve to be good today, but better tomorrow.”

Catherine McAuley, RSM, Founder of the Sisters of Mercy 

Pittsburgh Mercy Health Ministry Prayer Breakfast

Save the date!

Saturday, November 21, 2020

UPMC Mercy
Sister M. Ferdinand Clark Auditorium
1400 Locust Street, Second Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-5144 (Uptown)

Registration for the Prayer Breakfast begins at 9 a.m. with fellowship, followed by breakfast and program from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The event will provide continuing education, resources, and networking opportunities to individuals who are interested in starting or enhancing health ministries in their faith communities, as well as in the general public. Attendees will consider what is working and not working within their ministries, how they can acquire needed resources and people, how they can rejuvenate an established health ministry, and what established programs can help them care for people in need within their faith communities.

This prayer breakfast is expected to draw parish and faith community nurses, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, certified registered nurse practitioners, health ministers, clergy, pastoral and social ministers, physicians, health and social service professionals, licensed professional counselors, health care educators, nursing students, seminarians, and others interested in promoting whole-person health (balancing body, mind, and spirit).

Overnight accommodations are available at the Martina Spiritual Renewal Center, 5244 Clarwin Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15229 (West View) at a reasonable cost. For details, contact Sister Donna Smith, SHS at 412-931-9766.

For more information, please contact us at 412-232-5815 or email ParishNurse@pittsburghmercy.org.


Health Ministry Education

The Pittsburgh Mercy Parish Nurse & Health Ministry Program offers creative heath ministry workshops and education programs for laypersons and health professionals who want to serve their faith communities. We’ll work with you to prepare programs that will meet the unique needs of your faith community or organization. We’ll also tailor topics to fit your learning needs.

Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • What is Health Ministry?
  • Advocacy & Referral
  • Building a Health Ministry Team
  • Coordinating Volunteers
  • Promoting Health & Wellness in Your Faith Community
  • Spiritual Care of the Elderly with Dementia
  • Understanding Grief & Loss
  • Visitation Ministry.

Depending on the topic, health ministry education programs can last from two to six hours.

We encourage a minimum of 10 participants per program.

Health ministry education programs are offered at no cost to faith communities and faith-based organizations. However, to cover the costs of travel, education materials (hand-outs), and advertisement in “The Faith Connection,” our monthly e-newsletter, we gladly accept donations.

To design a health ministry education program to meet the needs of your faith community or organization, please contact us at 412-232-5815.

Spiritual Retreat

“Sacred Dance to the Rhythm of Life”

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Martina Spiritual Renewal Center
5524 Clarwin Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15229 (West View)

The Pittsburgh Mercy Parish Nurse & Health Ministry Program is offering a one-day Spiritual Retreat on Saturday, March 7, 2020, at Martina Spiritual Renewal Center in West View, part of Pittsburgh’s North Hills.

The Rev. Dr. Joan Prentice, M. Div., D. Min.

The retreat will be facilitated by Rev. Joan Prentice, M.Div., D.Min, founder, executive director, and pastor of The Ephesus Project, a Pittsburgh nonprofit. Dr. Prentice has more than 20 years of experience in pastoral ministry. She began as a staff pastor to new disciples at Mount Ararat Baptist Church in East Liberty. Her focus at Mt. Ararat was in pastoral care, spiritual counseling for new members, curriculum development, and volunteer training. After much discernment and prayer, Dr. Prentice established The Ephesus Project in 2013 and describes it as “Traditional Church in an Untraditional Way.” The Ephesus Project exists in community as a “church without walls” and holds true to the principles of the Christian faith but in creative ways of ministry.

Dr. Prentice devotes her time to teaching and developing leaders for church and community ministry in the 21st century such as New Paradigm Leadership Training, Grace Space Gatherings, Open Word Bible Study and Conversation, pastoral and leadership retreats, focus symposiums, and Mothers United in Christ.

Dr. Prentice resides in Pittsburgh with her husband Marvin. She is a mother of three adult children and a grandmother of eight.

The retreat will begin with a continental breakfast at 8 a.m. The opening session will start at 9 a.m. The retreat will end by 4 p.m. Lunch is simple with minimal talking to allow participants the time and space for self-reflection. Participants are invited to a time of prayer, solitude, quiet reflection, learning and fellowship. It is time away from both personal and professional responsibilities especially during this special season of Lent.

The cost for the retreat is $55 per person and is payable to the Pittsburgh Mercy Parish Nurse & Health Ministry Program. The cost is an additional $40 for retreat participants who choose to stay overnight on Friday (dinner on your own), which is paid directly to Martina Spiritual Renewal Center. Space for overnight retreat participants is limited. Early registration is strongly encouraged. Handicap accessibility is available upon request.

The theme for this spiritual retreat is “Sacred Dance to the Rhythm of Life” which is designed as a contemplative, healing retreat. In our busy lives, especially those involved in ministry, we sometimes feel overwhelmed to the point of neglecting our own spiritual needs. We risk having little to pour out and then burn out. Retreat participants will come together for healing, refreshment, and restoration in a safe, sacred space. There is a holy dance with which we are invited to enter into with the living Lord. As our Creator leads, we follow and find a deeper freedom in the sacred dance of the rhythm of life.

“Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise in the assembly of the saints. Let them praise His name with dancing and make music to Him with tambourine and harp.”                                                                                                                           – Psalms 149: 1 and 3 NIV.


Please send your completed registration form with a check made payable to Pittsburgh Mercy Parish Nurse & Health Ministry Program to:

Pittsburgh Mercy Parish Nurse & Health Ministry Program
UPMC Mercy Health Center
1515 Locust Street, Suite 705
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-5154.

Space is limited. The deadline to register is March 1, 2020.

For more information about our Spiritual Retreat, please contact us at 412-232-5815 or email ParishNurse@pittsburghmercy.org.

20th Annual Pittsburgh Pastoral Care Conference

For professional and lay caregivers

Friday, May 1, 2020

Christ Church at Grove Farm
249 Duff Road
Sewickley, PA 15143

Pittsburgh Mercy Parish Nurse & Health Ministry Program is part of the planning team. For details, visit http://www.pghpcc.org/.

Faith Community Nurse & Health Ministry Educational Meetings – Spring 2020

Dates and details coming soon!

The Pittsburgh Mercy Parish Nurse & Health Ministry Program is hosting four Faith Community Nurse & Health Ministry Educational Meetings in Allegheny County that will provide two contact hours for registered nurses and valuable information for others who attend.

The meeting can benefit faith community nurses, health ministers, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, clergy/laity, and anyone interested in learning about wholistic care approach (whole-person health) and committed to educating their local parishioners. The goal of the meeting is to emphasize the importance of networking, fellowship, learning, and peer support for faith community nurses and health ministers as they assist their congregations and local community to better whole-person health – body, mind, and spirit.

The meeting is free for those who do not wish to receive continuing education credits and $10 for registered nurses who want the educational credits. There will be a variety of locations offered. While attending the location nearest to one’s faith community is suggested to benefit from peer support and local community resources, participants are welcome to attend the session that best suits their schedule. A check or cash are acceptable at the door. Light refreshments will be provided.

For more information or to register, contact the Pittsburgh Mercy Parish Nurse & Health Ministry Program at 412-232-5815 or email ParishNurse@pittsburghmercy.org.

25th Pittsburgh Mercy Parish Nurse & Health Ministry Symposium

Reflections from Our 25th Symposium: “Celebrating Health Ministry: Our Past, Present, and Future”

Our 25th symposium, held on Saturday, October 28, 2017, in Pittsburgh, Pa., and entitled “Celebrating Health Ministry: Our Past, Present, and Future,”  was a great success, assisting participants in reflecting more deeply on how we provide wholistic care (whole-person care) to those we serve in our faith communities. The symposium celebrated our past in faith community nursing, magnified our present service to those in need, and moved us forward to the dynamic vision for the future of health ministry.

We explored important health care trends:

  • Wholistic care
  • Cultural competency
  • Diversity appreciation
  • Complex community needs
  • Addiction
  • Behavioral health concerns.
Marlene Feagan (right) receives a Terrible Towel from Sister Rebecca Nolan (left)

Our wonderful guest speaker, Marlene Feagan, MA, BSN, RN-BC, president of Health Ministries Association, Inc. (pictured holding a beloved  Terrible Towel), encouraged all 52 attendees to address our own individual callings to health ministry as well as to look honestly at areas needing further discernment and prayer in our faith communities.

Marlene also facilitated roundtable discussions to move us beyond our ecumenical boundaries, and intersect faith and health concerns across social avenues focusing on those who are identified with homelessness, addiction, behavioral health concerns, and spiritual challenges.

She also engaged us with questions that may not always have answers when it comes to providing wholistic care in faith communities. The spirit-filled room opened and closed with prayer and singing as attendees bonded together.

Participants at our 25th Annual Symposium

We learned from each other and became better equipped to lead our faith communities through the ministry of healing. As it says in Isaiah 40:11 NIV, “He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads…”. God’s blessings to you in your ministry!

For more information about the 25th Annual Pittsburgh Mercy Parish Nurse & Health Ministry Symposium, please contact us at 412-232-5815.