Claretian Chaplains Give Patients Hope
Being in a hospital is seldom a pleasurable experience. For most, hospitalization means illness, unforeseen expenses, uncertainty and inconvenience. For others, it includes not only these hardships, but also the fear of being alone. The Claretians have committed to ensuring that doesn’t happen by serving as hospital chaplains and offering hope to the sick.
“Jesus told us to feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked and care for the sick,” says Father Tony Diaz, chaplain at County General Hospital in Los Angeles. “What we do in the hospitals is a witness to the love that Christ has for each of his holy ones.”
Claretian Brother Larry Moen, the Catholic\chaplain at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital in Los Angeles, finds that those among whom he ministers are looking not only for spiritual strength but also for an advocate.
“A big part of being a chaplain is to be there for the patient and staff to give hope and support,” says Brother Larry. “There are many people who have no family and who are very alone and afraid.”
It’s a ministry he does not do by himself; rather, the hospital staff works as a team to ensure the complete healing of each patient.
“As a chaplain I am part of a team with the doctor, nurse and social worker. Our goal is caring for the whole person body, mind and soul. We have a holistic healing program.”
Brother Larry’s duties include prayer, performing the Communion Service when a priest is not present, preaching the Word of God to the staff and patients, and training Eucharistic Ministers and pastoral visitors.
Claretians Father Dennis Gallo in Los Angeles and Father Gerald Caffrey in Prescott, Arizona also serve as chaplains, working alongside chaplains of different faith backgrounds, including Presbyterian ministers and Jewish Rabbis. For each individual patient, the Claretians hope to respond in a gentle, personalized manner.
“The people who come to this hospital are poor and in need of care,” Brother Larry continues. “I proclaim to them that they are wanted and loved by the church and by society. All are God’s children; all are in need of compassion and good pastoral care.
“It’s rewarding for me to see the gratitude of the patients for doing just the small things. You can see the gratitude in their eyes or in their smile. It’s rewarding to know that as a Claretian, I’m making a change in people’s lives by helping them become closer to Christ.”All active news articles