Keeping with longstanding tradition at UPMC Mercy, the hospital’s Holy Family Chapel currently features a 126-square-foot crèche in honor of the Christmas season. Purchased in 2004, the Italian-made figurines have been helping both patients and caregivers through the holidays at the hospital for over a decade.
Patients from the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute at UPMC Mercy recently joined Sister Sandy Pelusi in front of the crèche for a special Advent prayer service. Prayer services typically take place on the patient units, but given the time of year, therapists saw the opportunity to incorporate the crèche into the care patients receive. “As Pittsburgh’s only remaining Catholic hospital, the Catholic mission is a strong part of our care,” said Shelbey Rojik, facility director, UPMC Centers for Rehab Services at UPMC Mercy. “Patients tend to rely more on their spiritual faith while they are in the hospital, especially over the holidays.”
Sister Sandy focused the service on a message of healing. While patients undergo therapy for physical healing, they must also consider the importance of mental and emotional healing to improve their overall health. Patients had the opportunity to share prayer requests and discuss the joys of the season with their caregivers, as well as others facing similar health challenges.
In the true spirit of Christmas, the most common prayer request from patients was not for their own healing but for the healing of others in the hospital. “The crèche is a peaceful place for prayer and reflection for patients and staff members alike,” said Phyllis Grasser, vice president of mission effectiveness and spiritual care at UPMC Mercy. “At this time of year, it provides hope for the year to come and reminds us to be thankful for the healing that has already occurred.”