CHA celebrates a milestone; foresees its next 100 years

July 1, 2015


WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a joyous Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, CHA celebrated its centennial and officially opened the 2015 Catholic Health Assembly June 7. The Choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine accompanied by jubilant pipe organ led over 800 members of the Catholic health care ministry and members of the public in a soaring service at the largest Roman Catholic church in North America.

Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, CHA's president and chief executive officer, leaves the altar having thanked church leaders and acknowledged the roughly 700,000 health care ministry employees in the U.S. for their shared commitment to Catholic health care. She delivered her remarks at a Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., celebrating CHA's 100th anniversary.
Photo credit: Evelyn Hockstein/© CHA

The Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl presided at the Mass in the Byzantine-Romanesque style cathedral.

Cardinal Wuerl thanked the Catholic health ministry for treating not just people's physical needs but also their spiritual ones. "It's a continuation of the healing ministry of Jesus," he said. And he praised those assembled for work "to build a truly good and just society" where it is assumed everyone should have access to quality health care.

He said to understand the significant role of the church and of CHA and its member entities, one needs to start with Jesus' love and his healing ministry. It is nothing less than Christian love that animates these efforts, he said. He added that it is love that provides the motivation for the time, energy and effort presently required to sustain Catholic health care services to carry on the healing mission of Jesus.

On CHA's 100th anniversary, its members include more than 600 hospitals and nearly 1,200 long-term care and other health facilities in all 50 states. The Catholic health ministry is the largest group of nonprofit health care providers in the nation.

Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, CHA's president and chief executive officer, said it was a joy for her to commemorate CHA's 100th anniversary at the magnificent national shrine. She thanked all those gathered for their support of Catholic health care, and highlighted the contributions of more than 700,000 people who work in Catholic health care in the U.S.

Concelebrants at the solemn celebration of the Eucharist included Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.; Bishop Timothy L. Doherty of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana; Bishop George Leo Thomas of the Diocese of Helena in Montana; Auxiliary Bishop Glandas Marie Erick Toussaint of the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince, Haiti; and 12 priests, including Fr. Michael Place, past CHA president and chief executive; and Fr. Thomas Nairn, CHA's senior director of ethics. Deacon Alex Garvey, vice president for mission and ethics at Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center in Portsmouth, Va., assisted Cardinal Wuerl.

Catholic health care ministry members congregate on the steps of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., for a photograph to commemorate CHA's centennial.
Photo credit: Matthew Barrick/© CHA

At the close of the Mass, Sr. Carol invited ministry members and their families to gather for a group photograph "with 800 to 1,000 of our closest friends" on the shrine's front steps. Old friends and new colleagues came together on the grand stone steps to mark the occasion.

Several of those who attended the Mass called it a moment to reflect on the important tradition and current work of Catholic health care. Sr. Gloria Schultz, SPC, who has had a role in Catholic health care for about a decade and currently serves as the president of the board of trustees for the Bishop Noa Home for Senior Citizens in Escanaba, Mich., said she was moved by the setting in a shrine that honors the Blessed Virgin Mary and the fact that the Mass celebrated the Feast of Corpus Christi, the body and blood of Christ. It was particularly poignant, she said, "to be gathering with the intercession of Mary" to help Catholic health care providers through contemporary challenges.

"It's inspiring and encouraging to see all that's being done by Catholic health care," she said.


Copyright © 2015 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
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