FORT WAYNE — The new sprawling nine-story, 430 bed, Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne boasts a facility focused on health and wellness, and that includes spiritual well-being.
Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades celebrated the first Catholic Mass in the facility’s new chapel on March 22 and blessed the Catholic Blessed Sacrament Chapel.
“This chapel is a sign of the importance of the spiritual care of the sick who come here for medical care,” Bishop Rhoades said in his homily. “There is a necessary connection between the physical, psychological and spiritual dimension of the person. I am very grateful to the Parkview administration and community for recognizing the importance of the spiritual life of the patients and for providing this chapel as a place of prayer for patients and their families and for hospital staff and employees.”
The Blessed Sacrament will be in reserve in the chapel where chapel visitors may pray. Mass will be celebrated in the chapel — which also offers kneeling benches —on Thursdays.
“Today the Holy Eucharist, the true bread from heaven, will begin to be reserved here at Parkview Regional Medical Center, here in the tabernacle of this chapel,” Bishop Rhoades said in the homily.
“The Eucharist reserved here and also distributed to the Catholic patients is a wonderful gift,” he said. “Patients here will be able to receive the bread of life, the new manna come down from heaven, the Lord Jesus Himself.”
Bishop Rhoades added, “I am deeply grateful to the priests, deacons and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion who are so dedicated to this holy ministry of bringing the Eucharist to the sick here at Parkview.”
“In bringing Holy Communion to the sick, the ministers represent the Church, the community of believers, in reaching out to those who cannot be present for Mass,” Bishop Rhoades said. “The sick who receive the Eucharist become united with Christ and are also united with the Church. How important it is that they have the opportunity to receive the Bread of life while here at Parkview.”
Although Parkview Regional Medical Center is a Methodist Hospital, the facility serves a large number of Catholic patients.
Rev. Ann Steiner-Lantz, the director of chaplaincy services at Parkview Regional Medical Center, told Today’s Catholic, “We are so excited to have this chapel and the commitment that Parkview has made to pastoral care and spiritual needs of our patients.”
“So many hospitals around the country, in downsizing, are eliminating chaplaincy departments,” she said. “And here, we’ve built this beautiful chapel. We have a beautiful office complex here in the core of the hospital.”
Decorated glass dominates the wall behind the altar in the Parkview chapel. A large cross of combined colors is not a splash of paint, but a photograph of the texture of a flower magnified thousands of times. The image behind the altar is an iris. Another large window carries the image of a rose. Both state-of-the-art pieces were produced by Architectural Glass of Louisville, Ky.
Rev. Lantz said the focus of Mike Packnett, president and CEO, and Sue Ehinger, chief operating officer who is a Catholic, “is not just on the physical healing of our patients, but the spiritual healing as well. And they’re both tremendous persons of faith. It couldn’t be any better than what we have here.”
The Catholic Blessed Sacrament Chapel has been in the planning stages for years. The hospital has worked with Bishop John M. D’Arcy, bishop emeritus, and Bishop Rhoades after his installation as bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, as well as Brian MacMichael of the diocesan Office of Worship and Father Jason Freiburger from Bishop Rhoades’ office.
Although Rev. Lantz is a United Methodist minister, she has been adamant about the Blessed Sacrament Chapel because “I have so many Catholic friends, coworkers and so many Catholic patients — and to be able to pray in front of the reserved Eucharist is so important.”
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