Linwood, New Jersey   SPRING/SUMMER 2011

My Ministry as a Hospital Chaplain


    Six months after my ordination, I received a phone call one September morning from my Superior, instructing me to contact our Diocesan Chancery Office for an interview for a possible appointment as a hospital Chaplain at Shore Memorial Hospital. The hospital is less than a mile from our community house in Linwood. My previous work in health care facilities during my Diaconate helped me to secure the Chaplaincy. I wondered, at that time, how much actual pastoral ministry would present itself to me in this new position at a secular hospital. It has now been five years since my appointment and I can truly say I thank the Lord for giving me this special ministry, where I can bring the love of God to others and feel truly blessed myself.

   It is a ministry that allows me to be with people at a time of need, a time when fear can overcome them and when they often look back on their lives and reexamine their faith.

Fr Peter offer prayers at the new Shore Memorial Hospital
Fr. Peter offers prayers at a groundbreaking of a new surgical wing at Shore Memorial Hospital, Somers Point, NJ

 


Fr. Mathew and children gather at the statue of St. Gaetano Errico
Fr. Peter counseling a family member in the hospital chapel.

   By reminding them of God's infinite love, they are reassured that they are not alone and they can trust themselves into the hands of God. It amazes me that after a short visit, they open their hearts and share their stories...some are beautiful and inspire me. Others have suffered and turned away from faith, often for reasons they can hardly remember.

   I remember one woman in her 80s, who had not gone to confession in over 30 years. She had married a non-Catholic and been told she was wrong to do so. She did not give up her faith, but drifted away. We talked about the Sacrament of Confession and that the priest was an instrument of God's forgiving love. She told me she would think on it and could I come back the next day. Well, the next day I revisited her and she was ready. During the confession she began to cry, and she told me they were joyful tears for she had been relieved to let go of the sins she carried.

   (continued on page 2)


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