Spiritual Care Services

Multifaith chaplains sensitive to varied expressions of spirituality, both religious and non-religious, are dedicated to providing support 24 hours a day.

What do chaplains do?

At Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), chaplains provide direct spiritual care, coordinate clergy referrals, educate staff, and serve as a liaison for families with their own spiritual leader.

Chaplains can be with you when:

  • You are anticipating surgery
  • You receive bad news or you are giving thanks for good news
  • You are facing difficult decisions
  • You have a spiritual question (Why is this happening to me? Am I being punished? Why do bad things happen to good people?)
  • You are searching for meaning in the midst of loss or death
  • You feel overwhelmed
  • You want someone to pray with you
  • You want to receive a sacrament or religious ritual (e.g., blessings, Eucharist/Communion, bris, anointing, etc.)
  • You need a copy of a certificate confirming a religious ritual
  • You are struggling with the meaning of your child’s illness
  • You want to reconcile with someone or with God
  • You want to connect with your faith community
  • You are having trouble sorting out your feelings
  • You are grieving or feeling anxious, hopeless, powerless, lonely, angry, guilty or regretful
  • You would like spiritual support

Chaplains offer:

  • Celebratory support by hosting or supporting events for specific religious holidays throughout the year, including The National Day of Prayer, World Religions’ Day, Easter, Hanukah, Purim, Ramadan, Good Friday, Pesach (Passover) and Christmas
  • Listening with compassion and without judgment
  • Praying with or for you
  • Conducting or arranging for rites, rituals and the needs of your particular faith group
  • Providing spiritual support
  • Contacting the leader of your faith community on your behalf
  • Providing Sabbath candles, prayer rugs, books, a Bible or other religious, spiritual, devotional or inspirational items
  • Administering sacraments or presiding over rituals
  • Supporting you through care planning and decision-making

How to contact a chaplain emergently

To contact a chaplain in an emergency, dial the operator directly and request a chaplain.

Chaplains are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for urgent needs by paging #10743 from a CHOP phone. Your nurse can also help you, or you may dial the operator directly and ask them to page a chaplain.

For less urgent needs, call the Spiritual Care Services team at 215-590-1137 and leave a message. We will return your call within 24 hours.

Please contact our chaplains when inviting home clergy for the sacramental ritual of Roman Catholic baptism. Spiritual Care Services is responsible for reporting baptisms performed at CHOP to the local diocese for recording.

Meet our chaplains

  • Leslie Benfield, MDiv, BCC, Spiritual Care Services Coordinator, Medical/Surgical Unit and Complex Care Unit chaplain
  • Cantor Rebecca Carl, Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit chaplain
  • Rev. Bernie Callahan, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Seashore House and Medical Behavioral Unit chaplain
  • Joshua Edgar, on-call chaplain
  • James E. Mack, on-call chaplain
  • Kelly Jean-Philippe, Spanish-speaking, Medical/Surgical Unit chaplain
  • Laura Palmer, MDiv, BCC, Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit (SDU) and Oncology chaplain
  • Rev. Noah Reid III, on-call chaplain
  • Rev. Millicent Wess, MDiv, BCC, Cardiology chaplain

Reflective and religious spaces

The Schlimm Center for Prayer and Reflection is located on the first floor of the Main Building, just off the Rotunda. Redesigned and rededicated in January 2007, the center is a place of peace, where families of all denominations can pray, reflect, meditate and find comfort.

Two private prayer rooms are also located off of the main foyer of the Schlimm Center.

Kosher pantries are located within the Main Building near the Cafeteria, and Buerger Building inside the Welcome Center.

Weekly times of chaplain-led Christian reflection is offered at 9 a.m., and silent prayer and reflection or mindfulness practice, co-sponsored by Integrative Health, is offered from noon to 12:30 every Wednesday afternoon.

Patients and families can leave private prayer requests for our chaplains in the wooden prayer box located in the lobby of the Schlimm Center. As always, respectful confidentiality is offered by the chaplains who read and respond to these requests.


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