Prayer Service - Reflection Upon Catholic Identity in Health Care

May-June 2008


As we gather in prayer, we reflect upon what it means to proclaim that we are a Catholic health ministry. Catholic health care today stands at a juncture between that which is often most private — the sickness and health of persons in need — and a public service to our community. We are often challenged by those within and beyond Catholic health care who ask, "Are you what you say you are?" Jesus, whose ministry we continue, also faced such questions. Let's listen to the words of Matthew's Gospel:

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven . . ."

Matthew 16:13-17

(silent reflection; if there is time, share the fruits of your reflection with one another)

  • How is our institution/system/residence perceived in our local community? In the press? In our local faith community or diocese? In our state?
  • How would/do our associates describe our institution/system/residence?
  • How would I describe our organization if Jesus asked me, "Who do you say you are?"
  • How is our Catholic identity evident to those who enter our building(s)?
  • How is our Catholic identity evident to patients/residents who come to us in need of healing?
  • How is our Catholic identity evident to our associates in this ministry?

The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (Introduction) tell us that the "mystery of Christ casts light on every facet of Catholic health care." Let us pray together:


  • That we may see Christian love as the animating principle of health care, Lord, we pray.
  • That we may see healing and compassion as a continuation of Christ's mission, Lord, we pray.
  • That we may see suffering as a participation in the redemptive power of Christ's passion, death and resurrection, Lord, we pray.
  • That we may see death, transformed by the resurrection, as an opportunity for a final act of communion with Christ, Lord, we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, whose ministry we serve.


Sr. Patricia Talone, RSM, Ph.D.
Vice President, Mission Services
Catholic Health Association


Copyright © 2008 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States.
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