Chaplain and Spiritual Care
A child's illness and hospitalization can be a difficult time for any family. Our Spiritual Care team offers spiritual guidance and emotional support to people of all faiths as well as those who practice no particular faith.
Just as our incredible doctors, nurses, and medical teams are here to care for your child's physical needs, we're here to provide spiritual care. We can help lift your spirits, ease your fears and offer support to your family during your time of need.
Our pediatric trained chaplains are here to help you with whatever your needs and are happy to help you:
- Connect with members and/or a local spiritual leader of your own beliefs.
- Locate a Catholic priest.
- Find worship services.
To contact a chaplain or arrange spiritual care services:
- During business hours, call 945-204-2110 or the medical center operator.
- After-hours or emergencies, call the medical center operator and ask for a chaplain.
The chapel is located on the 2nd floor of the medical center, the chapel provides a quiet, peaceful place for family members to reflect, meditate, and/or pray. Our chapel is open to people of all or no faiths. Catholic and Protestant Bibles in English and Spanish, Jewish Prayer Books, the Muslim Qur'an, and prayer rugs are available for use in our chapel.
Having a child in the hospital is stressful. Chaplains are here to help you use your own faith and spirit to get through hard days and celebrate good days.
Our chaplains can provide:
- A Bible or other sacred text.
- Prayer journals.
- Journals for meditation or your own diary entries.
We're happy to help assist you with spiritual rituals:
- A blessing ceremony for your child.
When you need spiritual care, we offer:
- A safe place to share your feelings.
- Consultation about an ethical issue or important decision.
- Guidance in connecting with God, spiritual meaning, or your inner spirit.
- Emotional and spiritual support for you and your family.
- Grief support.
- Help with planning funeral or end-of-life services.
The spiritual needs of children
The faith needs of children are unique. Spiritual growth occurs in all developmental stages, from infancy through adulthood. As you care for your child's spiritual needs, it can be helpful to understand what is appropriate for their age.
Infancy - three years: sensing security
The greatest spiritual need for a child at this age is to feel security and trust. At ages 2 and 3, children love to mimic others. Teaching them to sing simple songs of faith and to share simple prayers.
Children who are hospitalized might feel particularly afraid and uncertain. Using a soothing voice and a gentle touch will encourage them to trust their environment.
Three – seven years: experiencing faith
Young children love to experience everything! They like to explore, imagine and create. In these years, it's important to involve your child in actively expressing their faith. They can:
- Read stories of faith
- Sing songs
- Act out faith stories
- Pray their own prayers
In the medical center, the chaplains are happy to assist you with activities that encourage your child's creativity and faith.
Seven – twelve years: relational faith
Older children are beginning to see themselves as individuals. They are forming their own relationships, making their own choices. Their family is still an important influence, but these children are learning to take responsibility for their actions and to understand the consequences of their choices. Older children have lots of questions; many of those questions will not have simple answers.
When children are staying in the medical center, it's important to give them plenty of space to ask their questions. Allow them to have doubts when their illness causes their faith to waiver. Model for them your steady faith, even in the face of difficult moments. Their faith—and yours—can grow through this time as you encourage their questions with patience and grace.
Our spiritual care team
The chaplains at Cook Children's are trained and experienced to minister in this demanding and unique environment. Our ministers are also knowledgeable about the developmental and spiritual issues distinctive to hospitalized children. We work as part of the pediatric health care team, bringing a sense of wholeness and health to patients and families.
Many congregations and community organizations participate in the interfaith ministry's PrayerBear program. New toy teddy bears of all shapes, sizes and colors are blessed during worship services, then they are delivered to medical center chaplains. These bears are given to patients who need encouragement or support after a painful procedure, during a lengthy hospital stay or during difficult times.
Chaplains tell children that "this bear comes to you with love from people you have never met who are praying for you." The Prayer Bears often mean so much to children and their families that some families return to the medical center to donate bears to the program. Our Interfaith Prayer Ministry is grateful for donations from our community throughout the year of new, soft bears. We are only able to accept new bears.
Cook Children's Medical Center offers an Interfaith Prayer Ministry to give local individuals and congregations a way to support patients, families and medical center staff. More than 120 congregations of many faiths provide support and receive the medical center's weekly prayer list.
If you would like to receive the weekly email prayer list or request a specific prayer, please call 682-885-4030.
Bereavement and end-of-life support
We recognize that the death of a child is a significant event for you and your family. Few parents are truly prepared for the death of their child, and the prospect of making arrangements for your child's funeral may add to the pain. One way that we can help is to provide you with basic information about the arrangements needed at the time of death.
Organ and tissue donation
Right now, there are more than 96,000 individuals in this country waiting for their second chance at life—a chance made possible through organ and tissue donation. The decision to donate can be an incredible way to honor your child and help another.
Cook Children's recognizes donor families through the Walk of Honor, located on our Fort Worth Medical Center campus near the prayer garden. Each donor child's first name is etched into a beautiful plaque. At night, dancing lights shine through the names so that they can be seen from the patient rooms on our top floor.
Learn more about becoming a donor: