This is why we serve in Catholic health care

April 1, 2020

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: An op-ed from the upcoming April 1 issue of Catholic Health World.

By Joe Impicciche, President and CEO, Ascension 

"In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world." John 16:33

As the world and our nation come together to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, Catholic health care is at the point of care and driven by our mission to serve. Let us remember and take solace in the fact that we are empowered by the One who founded this healing ministry, Jesus Himself.

During times like this, we draw strength from the stories of our founders — religious women and men who willingly answered calls to travel to places remote and near to help those who were most vulnerable suffering from scourges like cholera, smallpox and diphtheria. They too lived in uncertain times and forged ahead with the hope of the Gospel as their strength. Someday others may look back on us and the work we are doing today as they muster the courage to serve the needs of their own times.

We follow the example of Jesus, who overturned the conventions of His day by not shunning the sick and the lame, but instead traveled through towns and villages "curing every disease and illness," healing both body and spirit. And as we fulfill the ordinary duties of our work today, realize that every task we complete with compassion will leave its mark.

The challenges of COVID-19 bring into sharp relief the true and holy nature of the Catholic health care ministry. This is our Gospel calling made manifest. This is our mission — the healing mission of Jesus — alive in our midst.

We know this virus has the potential to disproportionately impact people living in poverty and the most vulnerable among us — including those who are homeless, documented and undocumented immigrants, the elderly, and the infirm. As COVID-19 threatens these most vulnerable in our communities, we as a shared ministry are doing what we were created to do. This pandemic will have long-lasting effects on the mind and spirit, long after most bodies are healed of this virus. Yet I am so humbled and inspired by the diligence, courage and trust our frontline caregivers have in one another and how their acts of courage, compassion and service will have lasting effects as well.

Lord, stay with us as we endure, persist and heal in your all-powerful name. In place of our anxiety, give us Your peace. 


Copyright © 2020 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
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