Our Mission


What The Hospital Ministry Currently Does

Our mission is to share the love and mercy of Jesus to all who are suffering, especially those who are sick and/or dying in the hospital.  The sick and suffering are the most important people in the Body of Christ, and we want people to experience Jesus' hope and healing, turning their pain into something good for themselves and for others.


Why We Do It

In today's world, people are taught that pain and suffering are bad and should be avoided or ended through medicines, pain killers or even death (suicide & euthanasia).   Unfortunately, this attitude has led to addictions, despair and even anger at God for allowing this suffering.

We want to give hope and meaning to the suffering children of God.  God sent His son Jesus to show us how suffering can be used for good, and like Mary, we can offer our suffering to Christ at the foot of the Cross.  God wants to heal us, sometimes in body, but always in spirit, if we let Him.  “The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him (Romans 8:16-17).

Through redemptive suffering, people can use their suffering for the good of others and the Church.  “In order to console a soul in its sufferings, point out to it all the good it still can do” (St. Padre Pio).  The Cross, and all those who are united to the Cross through their suffering, is the KEY to opening up the vaults of Heaven's graces and mercies. When suffering is accepted for the love of God, it is a means of personal salvation, purifying our souls, deepening our love of God, and leading us to true happiness and joy in our souls.  Our personal suffering can also be used as a means of salvation for the Church and the world.

The suffering, having found the road to fulfillment in their pain, can then be encouraged to say, “I have a role to play in the Church and in the salvation of many.”  Through this, they can experience hope, joy and purpose of life in the midst of suffering.  Their prayers can bring down many graces and blessings on the Church, and convert many souls.  “One must not think that a person who is suffering is not praying. He is offering up his sufferings to God, and many a time he is praying much more truly than one who goes away by himself and meditates his head off, and, if he has squeezed out a few tears, thinks that is prayer” (St. Teresa of Avila).



 Why the Hospital Ministry Needs Help in Expanding its Mission

Currently, the full-time Catholic Chaplain (Fr. Stefan Starzynski) at Inova Fairfax Hospital fulfills this mission by visiting patients and praying with them or administering the sacraments to them.  In many cases, he also gives these patients a prayer folder that contains powerful prayers, as well as educational and evangelizing material.  He would ultimately like to see these folders used throughout the Arlington Diocese by volunteers who visit the sick in all hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and even home care within the Diocese.  Through these folders, he hopes to help build up a Silent Army of the Suffering that can spiritually support the Church and her many missions, and lead to the conversion of souls.  As Our Lady of Fatima said to the three children, “Many souls go to hell because there is no one to sacrifice themselves and pray for them.”

He considers these prayer folders a way to extend a visit even after he or another volunteer has left the room, and he prays that it will serve as a source of comfort, strength and inspiration to the patients and their families.  A number of patients who have recovered told him that they still have those folders, even several years later.  He has seen many patients return to the faith in the hospital, and he wants them to have material to take home which would keep the faith alive. Others are suffering yet have never learned of its redemptive value, and he sees this folder as a way for them to understand and experience this. Still others feel abandoned and lost; some have attempted suicide; others have just lost a child or other loved family member; many are terminally ill; and there are those who have just received a new lease on life. All of these patients need grace-filled readings and prayers, and these prayer folders are a wonderful opportunity to bring the love, comfort and the beauty of the faith to those in need of hope. 

He knows that when we learn to help the sick offer up their suffering for the good of the Church, we will see many graces and blessing flowing down on the Church from Jesus.  In many ways, God's suffering children are the Church's most powerful army, and their suffering is precious and needed for the Church.  Venerable Fulton Sheen once said, “Think of how much suffering there is in hospitals, among the poor and the bereaved. Think also of how much of that suffering goes to waste.”  It's true that hospitals - and other locations that take care of the sick and suffering - are gold mines of untapped grace.

Currently, these folders are only focused for patients in hospitals.  However, Fr. Stefan envisions creating several versions of these folders for:

  • Sick and dying patients in hospitals & hospice, and their families
  • Elderly in nursing homes, assisted living homes, and homebound
  • Others who are homebound (patients and caregivers)
  • Parents who have lost a young child or suffered a miscarriage
  • Spanish-speaking patients (work on translating various booklets and newsletters)
  • Catholic doctors, nurses and other health-care workers who are on the front lines of the worst cases and can suffer from the despair and depression that their daily experience can bring

The Hospital Ministry aims to respond to the call of Pope Francis: “The thing the Church needs most today in the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful. I see the Church as a field hospital after battle. … You have to heal the wounds, and you have to start from the ground up.”  By starting in Inova Fairfax Hospital but hopefully expanding to other institutions, we can begin to heal those wounds through a concerted evangelization effort.  By collecting and distributing these Prayer Folders, we pray that these prayerful, faithful materials may enrich the existing faith in some, develop a newly-found relationship with God in others, and give a purpose of suffering to all.