St. Camillus celebrates 60 years of care to patients

Archbishop José Gomez gathers with chaplains after the “Mass of Thanksgivings.” — Credit: VICTOR ALEMAN

“You serve Jesus Christ — Jesus Christ in his passion, his suffering with the poor, the marginalized and those who have no one else to turn to. Your love for the suffering is a sign of God’s love. God’s compassion is in each of you in your compassion,” Archbishop José Gomez told 15 current and former hospital chaplains Aug. 24 during a Mass of Thanksgiving at the 60th anniversary of St. Camillus Center for Spiritual Care.

The afternoon celebration at St. Camillus Chapel near Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center also honored the 400th anniversary of St. Camillus de Lellis, patron saint of the sick and medical professionals. The archbishop noted that his father was a physician with a special devotion to the 16th century saint, who founded the Ministers of the Sick (Camellians).

“St. Camillus is indeed a blessed place in its partnership with Together in Mission, which is the archdiocese’s commitment to those who serve the poor,” said Father Chris Ponnet, chaplain and pastor of the Boyle Heights parish founded in 1954, which became St. Camillus Center for Pastoral Care in 1985 under its then-pastor, Father Don Kribs.

During Father Ponnet’s 20-year tenure at what’s now St. Camillus Center for Spiritual Care, chaplains have responded to 9,000 emergency calls and made 37,000 visits or attempted visits to patients in the medical center as well as nearby Keck Hospital and the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Outreach ministries at St. Camillus — including Pax Christi, CEP (Clinical Pastoral Education program for chaplains), Angel Interfaith Network, Catholic Ministry with Gay and Lesbian Persons, AIDS-HIV and Catholics Against the Death Penalty — were also honored during the liturgy and outdoor dinner after.

Sister Janet Husung has been a chaplain for five years, currently assigned to the jail unit on the first floor of the new LAC + USC Medical Center. “Really as chaplains, our mission is bringing hope to people in challenging situations,” she told The Tidings after Mass. “And I think the way that I bring hope is by helping them remember what gives them hope or what their faith is about if they have a religious faith.

“It’s giving them an opportunity to name what’s meaningful in their lives,” the Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet pointed out. “It may be hopeless in terms of getting out of jail in the next six months or conquering cancer or other medical conditions. But there’s always hope for something.”

Manuel Torres’ time as a hospital chaplain goes back 13 years. Today, he works mostly in the medical center’s 129-bed ER, usually with trauma patients. Their anxiety — from heart attack, gun-shot or other causes — is often very high.

“Our role is twofold,” said the 54-year-old chaplain. “We provide support to the patient as he’s being monitored and cared for in the ER, providing some level of support to help lower his anxiety. And to the family, which might be waiting because their son or daughter is undergoing some medical procedure, we offer support, too.

“So my role is more as a presence,” he added.  


Voices

History’s restless heart

Father Ed Benioff

“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless till they rest in you.” So said Saint Augustine, who was a man of many gifts, but more sins. He was at the same time a spiritual seeker and a spiritual slacker.  

 

C.S. Lewis Great Divorce 300x250

Events

January 2015
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

January 30, 2015

  • Friday, January 30

    Casino Nights, Dinner: 6-8 p.m., Casino and Dancing: 7 p.m.-2 a.m., Casa Lopez, 325 South A Street, Oxnard. $50, 21 & over only. Call Edith for tickets, (805) 377-0968.

    Mass and Healing Service, Praise & Worship: 7 p.m., Mass: 7:30 p.m., Mary Star of the Sea Church, 877 7th St., San Pedro. Healing service following Mass. (310) 833-3541.

    “Faustina: Messenger of Divine Mercy,” 7 p.m., Holy Name of Mary Church, 724 E Bonita Ave., San Dimas. A live multimedia drama with a modern message of mercy. $20 suggested donation. For tickets and more information, Holy Name of Mary’s church office, (909) 599-1243 or email sacredheartssb@ymail.com.

    St. John Bosco Bicentenary Symphony Concert, 8 p.m., Saint Dominic Savio Church, 13400 Bellflower Blvd., Bellflower. Conducted by Dean Anderson, featuring harpist Lucas Cantor. $10. (562) 920-7796.

     

Catholic Extension 300x100

Get our news by email

The Holy Father visits the Holy Land
Bob Smith BMW 300x250
Bob Smith Toyota 300x250
Bob Smith Mini 300x250