“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 Gathering 2021

Spirituality and COVID-19 . . . Life Lessons

Guest Speaker: Edwina Gateley

Saturday, November 13, 2021

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET


The Pittsburgh Mercy Parish Nurse & Health Ministry Program is hosting a Health Ministry Prayer Gathering. This event will be offered in a virtual format and provides continuing education, resources, and fellowship opportunities to individuals who are interested in spiritual care and health ministry. Attendees learn from our Pittsburgh Mercy Parish Nurse Team, guest speaker, and each other as they enhance their knowledge of caring for people in need whether in their faith communities and/or local community.

Many in the caregiving and ministerial professions may feel stretched and drained physically, mentally, and spiritually as we go through the COVID-19 Delta variant. We also need time to refresh and renew our spiritual health and self-compassion. We long to understand and/or strengthen our relationships with self, our Creator, and others. We need light on our path to move forward with our daily routines and responsibilities as we meet challenges along the way.

This virtual prayer gathering will be a time to reflect on where we are within our spiritual life. Are we spending quiet time with God every day? How is God speaking to us? Are there any positive aspects of COVID-19? What might we learn about ourselves and COVID? Is God telling us that we need to view COVID-19 differently? Does our ministry need to change? By participating in this gathering, we are also setting aside time for self-compassion and self-care.

Target Audience

Faith community nurses and parish nurses; registered nurses; licensed practical nurses; certified nurse practitioners; clergy; health ministers; 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).

Three (3) Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this program, participants will be able to:

  • Define spirituality and how it relates to the intentional care of the spirit.
  • Identify two life lessons in the past year for personal spiritual growth and self-care.
  • Describe one recent situation that integrates faith and health in providing spiritual care to those in need (i.e. family, faith community, workplace, and/or local community).

Guest Speaker: Edwina Gateley, Author, Poet, National and International Speaker

Edwina Gateley earned a teacher’s degree in England and a masters degree in theology from the Catholic Theological Institute in Chicago. From 1981 to 1982, Edwina lived for nine months in prayer and solitude in a hermitage in Illinois. In 1983, she spent over a year on the streets of Chicago, walking with the homeless and women involved in prostitution. Within these two experiences were the seeds of her ministry that would be realized in 1983 when she founded a house of hospitality and nurturing for women involved in prostitution.
Ms. Gateley is the author of at least fifteen books on spirituality. She is a well-known speaker and retreat leader. She has written frequently on topics such as her own faith journey, discipleship, and spirituality. She is also the recipient of sixteen national and international awards.

Note: The speaker has no relevant financial or nonfinancial relationships to disclose to Pittsburgh Mercy and the Pittsburgh Mercy Parish Nurse & Health Ministry Program.

Continuing Education Contact Hours

There will be 1.75 continuing education (CE) credits provided to registered nurses who attend. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation (ANCC). Registered nurses who attend the entire session and complete an evaluation form within 8 business days of this event (by November 24th) will be awarded a certificate and 1.75 continuing education credits. UPMC and ANCC do not endorse any commercial products as a result of this CE activity.


The cost is $35 for registered nurses who wish to receive continuing education credits; $20 for those who do not wish to receive continuing education credits; and $15 for undergraduate nursing students, seminarians, religious, and clergy. Cost includes: Zoom invitation and handouts. Limited, partial scholarships available upon request.

Registration is accepted by U.S. mail or online via the Pittsburgh Mercy Parish Nurse website. Virtual space is limited. Early registration encouraged. Registration must be postmarked by Wednesday, November 3, 2021. For more information, contact the Pittsburgh Mercy Parish Nurse & Health Ministry Program at 412-232-5815 or email  ParishNurse@pittsburghmercy.org.

2021 Health Ministry Prayer Gathering-Flyer & Registration

Peer Support, Learning, & Conversation 2021

The goal 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 health and well-being.

The target audience is faith community nurses, health ministers, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, clergy/laity, and anyone interested in learning about wholistic care (whole-person health) approach as we commit to health advocacy and education of others.

Participants will take part in a brief learning activity such as a PowerPoint presentation, a video clip, a short article, or case study, then participate in group discussion on the chosen topic. There will be time for Q&A by using peer discussion and brainstorming.

These virtual offerings are FREE.  Registration is required to receive the Zoom link, meeting ID, password, and agenda. Dial-in option is available. Registration deadline is by 3:00 p.m. ET on the date of your choice.

Each meeting is held on the 3rd Tuesday evening of the month beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET (except where noted below) and lasts one hour.

February 16

March 16

A special Saturday session will be offered March 20, 11:00 a.m. ET and will include the same presentation as March 16.

April 20

May 18

June 15

September 21

October 19

November 16


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

Candle Meditation & Prayer Gatherings 2021

A wonderful opportunity to experience spiritual awareness and group faith sharing through a virtual setting. All are invited to this quiet place and time to prayerfully reflect on whole-person health … balancing body, mind, and spirit. You are invited to this special time away to continue with safe, better health and well-being.

These virtual offerings are FREE.  Registration is required to receive the Zoom link, meeting ID, password, and agenda. Dial-in option is available. Registration deadline is by 3:00 p.m. ET on the date of your choice.

Thursday, February 11, 7:00 p.m. ET – Preparing for Lent

Thursday, March 11, 7:00 p.m. ET – Spring into Action

Thursday, June 10, 7:00 p.m. ET – Summer Solstice

Thursday, September 16, 7:00 p.m. ET – Welcome Autumn

Tuesday, December 14, 7:00 p.m. ET – Winter Frost


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

Faith Community Nursing & Health Ministry Education: Customized for Your Ministry

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.

Pittsburgh Pastoral Care Conference 2022

Please check back in the spring 2022 for the annual conference date.

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

Virtual Day Retreat 2021 … Gathering Reflections

On Saturday mid-morning, April 17, 2021 the Pittsburgh Mercy Parish Nurse & Health Ministry Program hosted their Annual Day Retreat titled “From Darkness into Light: Encountering the Heart of Christ” via a virtual format (Zoom invitation only). It was a special time of contemplation, prayer, music, self-reflection, learning and fellowship.

2021 Retreat Facilitator & Spiritual Director, Carrie Nickerson

Our retreat facilitator and spiritual director Dr. Carolyn (Carrie) Nickerson brought her insight, expertise, and creativity to this special group of 15 retreatants.  The purpose of the retreat was to spend time away from our busy lives and to focus on self and Creator. We learned about contemplative prayer and to pay attention to what emerges inside us as we listen to music, practice silence, and listen to specific words in Scripture. Many of us left our day  together with a commitment for a deeper prayer life and an appreciation to our Creator for contemplative healing that is most needed during this challenging time in our world.

We are grateful that our retreatants chose to spend their Saturday with us so that we could  encourage each other in our ministries and professional work. May we feel renewed and spiritually stronger to lead our faith communities through our ministries of health and healing. May God bless our retreatants as they  continue to serve God in their families, faith communities, and neighborhoods.

We closed our retreat with “Suscipe” from Ignatius of Loyola:

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my intellect, and my will—
all that I have and possess.
Everything I have and think of as my own,
You have given to me, now I return it!
Everything is yours, do with it what You will.
Give me only the grace to love You, this is enough for me.

For more information about our next Spiritual Retreat, please contact us 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.