Chaplains Bring Faith to a Secular Hospital
by Angela Cave, staff writer, The Evangelist, July 19, 2012
Patients at Samaritan Hospital in Troy can request a chaplain 24 hours a day, attend Mass and avail themselves of the Eucharist, anointing of the sick and reconciliation - and the hospital isn't even Catholic.
That level of spiritual care marks a shift at the 160-bed health facility from two decades ago, when Deacon Frank Lukovits became a part-time chaplain at Samaritan.
Back then, he said, chaplains' work was simply "tolerated." But "through the years, we've become what I feel is an integral part of the team."
Now, Deacon Lukovits serves as an on-call chaplain and occasionally relieves Sister Marianne Kennah, Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet, full-time co-director of the spiritual care department. A priest, a brother and a dozen chaplains of other faiths also work at the hospital.
Last, best work
Sister Marianne, 75, says Samaritan is her "last stop" in ministry.
"I think God left the best for last for me," said Sister Marianne, who worked in education and human services. "It's like He has given me a special gift at this time in my life."
Deacon Lukovits and Rev. David Jones, MM, are also in their late 70s, but still answer calls for a chaplain in the wee hours. Father Jones, who is celebrating his 50th anniversary of priesthood this year, even said he enjoys "getting up when I don't want to get up and coming down here when people need help.
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Fr. David Jones, MM, Deacon Frank Lukovits
and Sister Marianne Kennah, CSJ