Making Hospital Chapel Welcoming to All Faiths

October 21, 2010

Author: Scott James

Source: The New York Times/The Bay Citizen

Looking resplendent in red vestments, the Rev. John Jimenez conducted mass on Monday before about 20 congregants and reminded them the date was the Feast of St. Luke. “Luke is the patron saint of doctors,” he said, “so it has some special meaning here in the hospital.”

Father Jimenez conducts midday mass Sunday through Friday here at the small chapel inside San Francisco General hospital, a city-financed facility. These days the Roman Catholic service is no-frills: the altar is a metal cart draped in scarlet cloth and wheeled in just before the service. The faithful sit on worn folding chairs and kneel on carpet remnants to pray.

Until recently there was a large altar and pews that ran nearly the width of the room. Years earlier, a crucifix hung on the wall. Visually, at least, the chapel was a Roman Catholic place of worship.

Not anymore.

See also: Interfaith, Health