Praying with soldiers in vet hospitals--how to go about this?

*I had once thought of belonging to a prison ministry a few years ago, but I didn’t feel that called to do that, but I have been looking for a ministry to give myself to, and think I feel a ‘calling’ to do something like this, but what? At mass today, the priest’s homily touched my heart in such a way that I really feel called to giving of my time to this ministry. I was thinking of visiting a vet hospital maybe a few times per month, and praying the Rosary with soldiers? How would you suggest I go about this, does anyone do something like this currently? Can you share how you got involved (my parish doesn’t have anything like this currently established)? Do I just contact a local vet hospital, and suggest this?

Looking for your opinions, and advice. Thanks!*

I too have begun to think about the possibility of ministering in a VA hospital. I know they are always in need of general volunteers. While the VA might frown (I do no know) on an organized religious approach, there might be many opportunities for the spreading of the Gospel message in the context of everyday volunteer work.

I think it may be an overlooked area of ministry, though I have not done any research. I cannot help but think that our Lord Jesus would be very much at home wandering the halls of these often forgotten and not so well supported and administered institutions. It would be interesting to find out what actual level of Catholic outreach exists in the typical VA Hospital, if any, or if it even is allowed in any organized way. There might also be a Chaplains office or phone number associated with your local hospital. Perhaps there are others in the CA Forums who have some information on this subject?

Most VA Medical Centers (especially the larger ones) are served by chaplains. If you contact your local facility, someone there can put you in touch with the chaplain’s office. The staff should be able to advise you on how to proceed.

Hope that helps.

Servulus–thank you! I am going to check it out. Like piejesu mentions, I think that many of these men are forgotten, that is what the priest implied through his homily today. I admit, even though my dad served during WWII, I don’t always think about what these fine men and women have done for our country. I think that the priest today really made an impact upon me, I should probably ask him where he visits, and tag along, too, if he’d let me. :o

Yup, the Chaplain would be a good place to start.

You might also call your Parish Office, ask which Priest or Priests serve that hospital.

Depending on where you go, be prepared to face a lot of paperwork and questions (unfortunately).

I am a veteran and this past Christmas I visited the VA hospital on Christmas (older veterans). We had to sign paper work for everything; to talk to them, to take their picture, to pray with them etc.

I would try to get in with a group that regularly visits the VA hospitals if all possible. They will more than likely have the process down to a science so that you can save some headaches.

Oh damooster, that is good to know, I wouldn’t have known that…like what kind of paperwork? :confused: I really want to do this, so I will have to do whatever it takes. It’s strange, this is SO not the ministry I would have chosen for myself, but just following God’s will here. Your insight into this is appreciated.

Don’t worry about the paperwork and other details until you have called the chaplain’s office. In the VA hospital in my city, the Catholic Church is indeed involved with the patients, and it is a well-organized effort. Holy Communion is offered to patients who are able to receive it; prayers are said with others. Rosaries are given to those who want them. As to gathering patients into groups to pray the rosary, that might not be possible for various reasons, but again, talk with the chaplain to see what is offered in the VA hospital near you. Arrange to meet with him, so you and he can prayerfully discern how you can be involved. Honor whatever commitment you make. Thank you for exploring this outreach!

*Yes, I will follow whatever they suggest. I hadn’t thought there would be groups already formed. Duh. :rolleyes::blush: lol I am happy I posted this here, you have all given me food for thought. I have this vision of sitting though individually with different soldiers, and praying with them, bringing them homemade things, for those who don’t really have visitors. I am not sure if that can be arranged, but I’ll follow whatever they suggest. *

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