10 Mar 2020

Opening and blessing of Calvary Adelaide Hospital

March 10 2020

calvary opening.jpg

In a few minutes there will be a small ceremony of blessing for this new Calvary Hospital. Holy Water will be sprinkled around this chapel and at the entrance of the hospital, so that all who enter herein may receive respect and care, healing we pray, and always some experience of the compassion of Christ. For that is our tradition as Christian people working in a Calvary Hospital, to exercise something of the ministry of Christ whose ministry among the people was to preach, to teach and to heal – as we have just heard in the Gospel account read by Sr Kathleen. The blessing with Holy Water is not some form of magic or reverse voodooism: Holy Water does nothing  to  the  molecular  structure  of  the  building  fabric  (the  hope  shared  I  am  sure  by  the  builders and the architect).  It is a blessing of dedication. The Holy Water is baptismal water, a symbol  of  Easter,  an  action  to  recall  our  own  baptism  when  we  were  made  members  of  the  Body of Christ. As such the baptised Christian shares and must live the vocation of Christ in the world, to preach, to teach and to heal. This hospital is where that ministry of the baptised is to be lived by those who work here. And all from whatever background will be reminded that this place  is  now  dedicated  to  the  sick: its  purpose  is  holy,  to  ease  suffering  and  restore  human  dignity.  

Like  all  Catholic  hospitals,  be  they  in  the  tradition  of  the  Sisters  of  Charity  or  the  Sisters  of  Mercy, the Sisters of Saint John of God, the Josephites or whoever, this Calvary Hospital is open to all who are ill, of whatever faith or none. This story began in simplicity in 1877 when Mary Potter, in a life parallel in many ways to Mary MacKillop, drew a group of women around her to care  for  the  suffering  and  dying. Eight  years  later  they  came  to  Sydney;  to  Adelaide  later  in  1899. The  Sisters  brought  with  them  the  vision  of  their  foundress,  Mary  Potter,  herself  no stranger to long term pain and suffering. She expressed her outlook and spirituality in sayings such as:

•    There is no greater power in life than love…
•    We were not made for time only but for eternity…
•    Let us be instruments God can use at any moment…
•    God chooses the most humble instrument to do His work…

May this spirituality continue and flourish in this place of healing. The Church cannot be Church unless it lives the works of mercy, to care for the hungry and thirsty, the stranger, the destitute, those in prison, those who are sick – all given in the catalogue of works Christ Himself entrusted to us in the Gospel. The Church in Australia attempts to live this, with so much care for the sick and the aged, with eighty hospitals and five hundred and fifty aged care centres and hospices. May they all continue true to their name.

May all who work in this hospital, named after the place where Christ on the Cross gave His all for the sake of others, live their vocation to be instruments of life in accord with the words of Jesus.    He  said  that  He  had  come  that  we  might  have  life,  and  have  it  to  the  full,  a  life  we  cherish as sacred and God-­‐given from conception to natural death, and may in healing the sick all who work here always recall not simply what they are doing, but why they are doing it – may they shine the light of faith and love on the experience of suffering and dying.  “Whenever you do this for the least of my brethren, you do it to me.” 

 Homily - Opening & Blessing of Calvary Hospital 05032020.pdf

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