“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 Reflections

Celebrated 30 years (1991-2021)

On Saturday mid-morning, November 13, 2021 the Pittsburgh Mercy Parish Nurse & Health Ministry Program hosted its annual autumn event titled “Spirituality and COVID-19… Life Lessons” via a virtual format. It was a special time of learning, prayer, and fellowship. The purpose was to help participants network together and enhance their knowledge about spiritual care of self and others in need.

There were a total of 21 participants who shared their ideas and suggestions about self-compassion, motivating others, creating safe space through connection, and spiritual health. Due to the pandemic, there has been a lot of discussion among faith community nurses and health ministers about addressing the spiritual needs of those serving in ministry as well as the needs of our congregants. Our guest speaker, Edwina Gateley, brought her insights, storytelling, poetry, and encouraging words. She invited all participants to recommit our lives to Creator through solitude, prayer, meditation, Scripture reading, music, spiritual journaling, and spending time alone in sacred space. When we exercise these suggestions, we create space and time for healing and hope. Ministry can be draining … many run the risk of poor self-care practices over time. Our guest speaker’s reminders were the right medicine for our spiritual and emotional longings during this challenging time in the COVID Pandemic.

Also, we are appreciative for those who chose to spend their Saturday morning with us so that we could listen and encourage each other in our ministries and professional work. Participants left with encouragement and time spent for self-care and self-compassion as we continue to serve God with our gifts, talents, and time. We learned from our guest speaker as well as each other through virtual break-out groups and shared conversation. We learned how to better equip ourselves by spending time in daily spiritual disciplines with God as we lead persons served thorough the ministry of faith, health and healing.  God’s blessings to all in 2022.

Peer Support, Learning, & Conversation 2022

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 p.m. ET on the meeting date of your choice.

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

March 15

April 19

May 17

June 21

September 20

October 18

November 15


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 2022

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 p.m. ET on the gathering date of your choice.

Wednesday, March 23, 7 p.m. ET – The Budding of Spring

Thursday, June 16, 7 p.m. ET – Summer Sun

Tuesday, September 13, 7 p.m. ET – Fall Foliage

Tuesday, December 13, 7 p.m. ET – Winter Solstice


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.

2022 Spring Virtual Book Journal Club

For six Thursdays in April and May, the Pittsburgh Mercy Parish Nurse and Health Ministry is facilitating a Virtual Book Journal Club beginning on April 7, 2022. The book is titled, “The Cup of Our Life: A Guide to Spiritual Growth” by Joyce Rupp (paperback ISBN = 10-1-933495-31-6). It is intended that each group participant will use the book for daily prayer and meditation. Then the group will gather virtually on the designated dates and discuss their experiences and pray together. This gathering provides time for self-reflection, learning, fellowship, and spiritual reading opportunities to individuals who are interested in spiritual care and spiritual health. Attendees learn from our Pittsburgh Mercy Parish Nurse Team and each other as they enhance their knowledge of self, Creator, and others especially for people in need throughout our communities. There is no cost for this offering, only registration.

April 7: The Cup of Life

April 21: The Open Cup

 April 28: The Chipped Cup

May 5: The Broken Cup

May 12: The Cup of Compassion

May 19: The Blessing Cup

This sharing time is not problem-solving time, but for promoting whole-person health. Each participant is strongly encouraged to purchase this book at least two weeks before the first session. Reading regularly and being prepared before each group session are strongly encouraged. Each participant needs to get the most from each session in order to move forward in one’s spiritual growth.

Each participant does not need to be present for each session, however, it is encouraged that these six dates be put aside as sacred time and self-care in one’s monthly schedule. Registration is required in order for each participant to receive the private Zoom link, meeting ID, and passcode. Dial-in option is available. Registration deadline is by 3 p.m. ET on the day before each session. To register, please email ParishNurse@pittsburghmercy.org with the following: first and last name, phone number, email address, city/state, and workplace/faith community name. Once we receive your email, then you will receive a one-page handout for review and preparation and the Zoom invitation. For questions or registration, please send email to ParishNurse@pittsburghmercy.org or call 412-232-5815.

Spring virtual book journal club FLYER

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

This year’s Pittsburgh Pastoral Care Conference will be held on Friday, May 6, 2022. Pittsburgh Mercy Parish Nurse & Health Ministry Program is part of the planning team. More details will be available soon at https://www.pghpcc.org/.

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

Day Retreat 2022 … The Great Divide

The Pittsburgh Mercy Parish Nurse & Health Ministry Program is offering a Day Retreat on Saturday, March 5, 2022 at the Martina Spiritual Renewal Center. This retreat is designed for retreatants to take time away from both personal and professional responsibilities especially as we begin our season of Lent. Retreatants are invited to a time of prayer, solitude, quiet reflection, learning and fellowship.

The theme for this retreat is titled “The Great Divide” and will lead us perfectly into the Lenten season. We are divided in our nation, in our families, and in our own hearts. How do we minister in this climate? Our spirituality guides us to long for understanding. Yet, understanding is inextricably tied to listening. In 1 Samuel 3:11 God tells Samuel he is about to “make the ears of everyone who hears of it (what he will do) tingle.” Join us as we invite God to make our ears tingle while we explore the roots of division and understanding.

smiling woman
Jo Ann Paradise

The retreat will be facilitated by Jo Ann Paradise, D.Min., who is a frequent retreat facilitator at Martina. She has been a teacher, catechetical administrator, director of parish ministerial life and spiritual formation, and national catechetical consultant for OSV (Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Co.). Jo Ann is a woman of faith with a wealth of knowledge and ministry experience, which she brings to all her retreats and programs. We are excited to have Jo Ann lead us and be our guide for this spiritual journey.

The retreat begins with a continental breakfast at 8 a.m. (come leisurely for relaxed fellowship). The opening session begins at 9 a.m., and the retreat ends at 4 p.m. Lunch is simple with minimal talking in order to provide retreatants with time and space for self-reflection and prayer. The cost of the Day Retreat is $55 per person and is payable to the Pittsburgh Mercy Parish Nurse & Health Ministry Program. The cost is an extra $40 for retreatants who choose to stay overnight on Friday (dinner on your own with the Mercy Parish Nurse Team), which is paid directly to the Martina Spiritual Renewal Center. Space is limited for overnight retreatants, so early registration is encouraged. Handicap accessibility and special dietary needs are noted on the registration form. Partial scholarships are available upon request by calling the Mercy Parish Nurse Office before completing the registration form.

information and registration form

Please note that COVID-19 protocols will be followed, including masking, hand sanitizing, and physical distancing. Please check the Martina Spiritual Renewal Center website for specific COVID-19 guidance.

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.