After more than a year of preparation, planning and building, Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan unveiled its new Mercy Chapel on Oct. 12 during a dedication and mass.
“This is a day of great rejoicing,” says Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger of the Catholic Diocese of Salina. “The chapel in a Catholic hospital is that place where people come to encounter God through sacrament and through word, but also through community.”
“In consecrating this chapel, we set it apart for God’s use – and really only God’s use – so that with time, you see God in everywhere in this institution in our world in the people that we serve.”
Also present at the dedication were several members of the Sisters of St. Joseph from Concordia, some of whom had worked at the hospital many years ago. In the 1990s, St. Mary’s Hospital and Memorial Hospital joined to become Mercy Regional Health Center. In February of 2014, Mercy was renamed Ascension Via Christi Hospital, symbolizing its transformation back to a Catholic hospital.
Sister Janet LeDuc, who graduated nursing school in the late 1960s, remembers working at what was then St. Mary’s Hospital.
“As a Sister of St. Joseph, it’s really exciting and wonderful to see that you can continue to further the mission that we began here.”
The opening of the chapel is the final step toward becoming a truly Catholic hospital, according to Bob Copple, president of Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan.
“We talk a lot about health care being about body, mind and spirit,” he says. “Our nurses, technicians and physicians – I think – do a great job of addressing the body, and in many cases, mind. This is a piece of the spiritual component.”