Throughout almost 50 years of nursing, Robyn Kremer had the desire to combine her work with her faith, to care for the body and the soul. Now she can live out this calling at her parish, Blessed Sacrament in Seminole with the launch of a new ministry, Faith Community Nursing.
After her retirement two years ago, Robyn participated in a training program offered at St. Anthony’s Catholic Hospital for Faith Community Nursing Ministry, which is dedicated to developing health programs that promote wellness by addressing emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. She asked her pastor about starting the ministry and he wholeheartedly agreed.
Robyn will have an office at the parish where she can offer health counseling, referrals and blood pressure readings. Other ideas she is considering include publishing regular health articles, screenings for cancer and diabetes, a health fair and fitness classes. All of these efforts will focus on treating the whole person, body, mind and soul.
“This is a really important ministry in my mind and heart,” said Father Rick Pilger, pastor, Blessed Sacrament Parish. “I have found that when we allow God to take the lead to help our neighbors in need, wonderful things happen.”
Robyn believes this ministry will meet an important need in the community.
“There are so many different ways that we can help our faith community with the church allowing me to have an office,” added Robyn. “We can speak about their health or any issues they might have and during this process we can pray with them and we can see what kind of resources there might be for them. Some people might need healing prayers or want to set up a meeting with a priest. I’ll be able to help facilitate that,” said Robyn.
The ministry is still in its planning stages. They are currently recruiting healthcare professionals to join their efforts. A parish-wide health survey has been distributed so that Robyn can assess the needs of the congregation and where to first focus her efforts. With COVID restrictions, she foresees first offering virtual classes but hopes to be able to host in-person events in the future such as CPR certification, weight management classes, nutrition programs, and baby-sitting trainings. The name, Faith Community Nursing Ministry, means that it will serve both the parish community and the whole community.
“There are so many different avenues to help,” said Robyn. “We don’t only need medical professionals. A sewing circle could get together to make masks, a lawyer could speak on advance directives, people can teach classes in their fields, we could have an outreach team, and donation drives.”
The possibilities for service are endless and the need in the community is vast. Father Rick sees this ministry as emulating the work of Jesus whose miracles healed the body as well as the soul.
“Jesus dealt with the body or whatever the needs were and then he went to the spiritual. We hope to fulfill that Gospel with every person he sends us. I can pray with them and anoint them– that can change people! I’ve seen tremendous miracles with anointing! I let God do what he wants, I’m just his instrument,” said Father Rick. “The Lord can use anything and he’s waiting for that opportunity when a person comes with their need. Miracles will happen for people in this ministry – in a big way.”
Other parishes in the Diocese of St. Petersburg also have a Faith Community Nursing Ministry.