Eric Swanson Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
With prayers, a hymn and holy water, Ada residents celebrated a new chapter in Mercy Hospital Ada’s history last week.
The hospital hosted a blessing ceremony Friday afternoon with the Most Rev. Paul Coakley, archbishop of Oklahoma City. The ritual helped usher in a new era for the facility, which was known as Valley View Regional Hospital until the Sisters of Mercy Health System took over management earlier this year.
Despite the threat of rain, more than 100 people flocked to the ceremony between the hospital’s main entrance and the emergency room doors.
Coakley’s presence emphasized the hospital’s role as a minister of the Catholic church, said Tino Gonzalez, vice president of mission and ethics.
“This blessing honors our heritage, our home, our co-workers, our community who are committed to the Mercy mission,” he said. “As the Sisters of Mercy before us, we bring to life the healing ministry of Jesus through our compassionate care and exceptional service.”
Coakley said the group had gathered to thank God for the gift of health care and honor the centuries-old tradition of Catholic medical service.
“It is a tradition and a legacy that is rooted in a commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ and for the mandate that the Lord gave us to care for one and all, particularly the least of our brothers and sisters,” he said.
The Rev. Rusty Hewes, pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church, underscored that point with his reading of Luke 10:30-37. The passage tells the story of the good Samaritan, who cared for a man who was attacked by robbers.
Toward the end of the ceremony, Coakley walked around the area and sprinkled the grounds with holy water. He said when Catholics use holy water, which is dedicated to God’s service, it reminds people of his presence in their lives.
“We pray that through the blessing of this health care facility today, with the auspices of the Sisters of Mercy and their wonderful work in health care, that this place will always be dedicated as a house of God and a house of mercy,” he said. “A place where the sick, the suffering, the lonely, the poor, will always find care, always find compassion extended to them with reverence, extended to them in recognition of their dignity as created in the image and likeness of God.”