Hospital Ministry in a Time of COVID

posted on 02/09/20 01:09 pm by Kathy McMerty  

By Fr. Steve Morrisey, C.Ss.R.

The virus is terrible!  It has brought about many changes to our world. With all of those changes it has taken longer to find the answers to the constant medical struggles I face. I don’t think anyone could disagree with that truth, yet with all of the terrible pieces of truth that have come to us with COVID-19, and there are many, the days of the virus have given me a wonderful opportunity to investigate just one of the paths along my vocational journey.

My journey has taken me from the Eastern most part of our country to the West coast; following St. Alphonsus has taken me to the Far North of our country and many places in between. On this the 29th anniversary of professing vows I am compelled to share with all of us the joy St. Alphonsus has brought into my life over this past month.

July 2020 began with a new job, a new development in this vocational journey, and now I feel compelled to share that blessing. This current quadrennium began for me with a move to Toronto. One of the blessings Toronto shares is that of a wonderful hospital setting. Each time I get off the street car to begin a new day at the hospital I am reminded of the virus. That reminder comes with a series of questions as I enter the hospital. Once the questions are answered, I am given a new mask to wear. The reminder is ever at the back of my mind during the day and its activities. With the day begun, I get to visit with patients and share the sacrament of the sick and the Eucharist.

Part of those visits to the sick of St. Joseph’s Hospital incorporate visits to patients living on the mental health unit. Some of those patients are only very “short term visitors” while others need a longer stay on the unit.

Several years of working in the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon, SK. gave me a level of comfort with those who live on psychiatric units. Spending anywhere from 20 hours a month to 100 hours a month at the RPC gave me great comfort. Now as the full time Roman Catholic Chaplain at St. Joe’s Hospital, (1 of 5 full time chaplains and 5 other part time or casual chaplains) I am blessed to visit the psychiatric floor at St. Joe’s.

Patients on the Psychiatric floor just love to ask questions, they love to learn about faith. The gentlemen who lived at the RPC in Saskatoon so too loved to learn about faith. That love of faith, that questioning attitude, opens up our world to many things and on this feast day, the feast of St. Alphonsus, that questioning truth is ever alive. I am very sure St. Clement, St. Alphonsus, St. John Neumann, St. Gerard, and all of our saints and blessed loved to answer questions and share in faith.

Faith must grow and we must share in that faith!

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