Five parishes in Fairport, East Rochester and Penfield have been collaborating for about a year on a new health ministry.
The parishes of St. John of Rochester, St. Joseph, St. Jerome, Church of the Assumption and Church of the Resurrection, which are known collectively as the JJJAR planning group, are trying to promote good health within the parishes and community.
The effort has been spearheaded by two area registered nurses, who had been parish nurses in other states before moving to Fairport: Mary E. Clark, who was a nurse with an Arizona parish, and Patricia Lindley Holden, who was a parish nurse in Kansas City, Mo., and in Lincoln, Neb.
Parish nurses focus on wellness of the body, mind and soul, Clark said.
"We do not do direct, hands-on patient care, and we try not to duplicate services with other organizations," she noted.
Health ministries can offer health counseling, health education and referrals. JJJAR’s health-ministry offerings have thus far included programs on Alzheimer’s, office hours for wellness questions, blood pressure checks and distribution of heart-health information. The health ministry also hopes to do outreach with St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center, Clark said.
"There are people in our parish who do take advantage of the services there," she said.
There are several other health ministries in the diocese, and Lindley Holden said one goal for the JJJAR group is to create common health-ministry policies and procedures that could be used at other parishes in the diocese. However, each JJJAR parish also is being encouraged to customize the health ministry to its particular needs, Lindley Holden added.
"The goal in a health ministry is for everyone to be whole in their relationship with God," she said.