Archbishop visits St. Louis-area hospitals to bless workers

December Online

Dec. 23, 2020

St. Louis Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski blessed workers and expressed his gratitude to them for the care they are providing to victims of the pandemic in visits to a Mercy and an SSM Health hospital and the headquarters of Ascension.

St. Louis Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski blesses workers during a visit Dec. 16 to SSM Health St. Clare Hospital in Fenton, Missouri.

"Thanks to all of you for all that you do for the people who come here seeking healing and comfort and help," Archbishop Rozanski told workers at Mercy Hospital South in south St. Louis County during his visit Dec. 16. "For many you have been the family members who have stood by their beds representing that comfort and healing and wholeness that they so seek."

The archbishop also visited SSM Health St. Clare Hospital in Fenton, Missouri. Like Ascension, SSM Health and Mercy are based in St. Louis.

At both hospitals and at the Ascension headquarters in Edmundson, Missouri, he gifted each of the systems with replicas of a crucifix that his predecessor, Archbishop-emeritus Robert Carlson, placed in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis in April. Carlson blessed the crucifix during a special service to pray for an end to the pandemic.

Nick Ragone, executive vice president and chief marketing and communications officer at Ascension, holds the cross given to the health system by St. Louis Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, right, during a visit to the health system's headquarters on Dec. 16.

The crucifix is representative of one from the 1500s that hangs at San Marcello Corso, a church in Rome. It was carried in a procession through the city during a plague 1522. Pope Francis has visited the cross this year to pray for an end to the current plague, which has so far caused an estimated 1.7 million deaths worldwide.

At Mercy South Hospital, President Sean Hogan told the archbishop that the visit, coming just as the first vaccines for COVID-19 were rolling out, enhanced a "week of celebration for us that we see hope for the end of the pandemic."

Archbishop Rozanski was installed on Aug. 25. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops appointed him as its episcopal liaison to the CHA Board of Trustees in September.

To see a video of the archbishop's visit to Ascension's headquarters click here.


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