UPMC Mercy Places Catholic Mission at the Heart of Patient Care

By: Madison Brunner

UPMC Mercy Places Catholic Mission at the Heart of Patient Care

Auxiliary Bishop Waltersheid and the Rev. Schempp extend a blessing to a patient who is ill and his mother after a special Mass held at UPMC Mercy in honor of World Day of the Sick.

UPMC Mercy recently held a day-long conference for employees on the importance of their Catholic mission and to discuss the meaning of a Catholic identity. The hospital’s mission connects health care to social justice with a strong emphasis on caring for the poor and vulnerable.

The hospital embraced its Catholic mission with a special training led by the Rev. Albie Schempp, who started the day with a discussion on how Catholic teachings and mission are rooted in Holy Scripture. He was joined by Rev. Lawrence DiNardo, vicar general of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh and health care liaison, who assisted with the training on Catholic identity and social principles. Other topics included information on the biblical roots of their ministry, Catholic social teaching, and ethical and religious directives that inform UPMC Mercy’s decision-making process.

“The Catholic mission is at the heart of patient care at UPMC Mercy,” said Phyllis Grasser, vice president of Mission Effectiveness at UPMC Mercy. “Specifically, four key principles guide the hospital in providing care to the community – provision of excellent and compassionate care, provision of quality spiritual care services, provision of charity care to the poor and vulnerable, and following the ethical and religious directives.”

UPMC Mercy annually celebrates World Day of the Sick, which takes place Feb. 11 and is a day dedicated to prayer for patients and their caregivers. A special Mass was also led Tuesday by Auxiliary Bishop William J. Waltersheid in the hospital chapel.

“Compassionate care for the sick includes spiritual support as well as physical care,” said Sister Carolyn Schallenberger, nursing support coordinator, UPMC Mercy Patient Services. “While prayer for the sick is a daily intention, emphasis is made through this annual day of prayerful recognition.”