March 26, 2020: Wonderful News from the Bishop of Phoenix
I have wonderful news to share regarding Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, one of Creighton’s clinical partners in Phoenix.
On March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph, the Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix, extended permission for daily Mass to be celebrated in the chapel of St. Joseph’s. He also extended permission to begin reserving the Most Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle in the medical center chapel, beginning today.
He extended permission for daily Mass “in a spirit of reconciliation, mercy and healing.” Noting the challenging circumstances posed by the coronavirus pandemic, Bishop Olmsted expressed his desire for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist to be “a source of healing, blessing, love and encouragement for all who go to St. Joseph’s Hospital.” He also invoked the intercession of St. Joseph, patron saint of the hospital, “that all medical professionals might be protected as they bring Christ’s healing love to their patients.”
While public Masses are suspended at present in Phoenix as they are in Omaha due to the pandemic, St. Joseph’s began streaming the celebration of daily Mass for patients and staff from the hospital chapel starting March 25, the Solemnity of the Annunciation.
We at Creighton share the joy of our colleagues at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center over the bishop’s announcement. We are deeply grateful for this wonderful gesture that will be a wellspring of grace and strength for so many, including Creighton students, residents, faculty, and staff in Phoenix.
The bishop also praised the formation of a new Collaborative Mission Committee, which brings together representatives from Creighton; St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center; CommonSpirit Health; and the Diocese of Phoenix “in an ongoing effort to further initiatives in our shared missions.” Creating the committee was occasioned by the convergence of notable moments of grace for each of the partners: the 125th anniversary of St. Joseph’s; the 50th anniversary of the Diocese of Phoenix; the creation of CommonSpirit Health and its new mission and vision statements; and, the expansion of Creighton’s presence in Phoenix.
In an announcement to employees and physicians, Linda Hunt, president and CEO, Dignity Health Arizona, and Gabrielle Finley-Hazle, president and CEO, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, said the committee “will look for ways to share opportunities and partner on projects that fulfill our missions, enrich our culture, and improve lives.”
I am grateful to have worked with Bishop Olmsted and the Diocese of Phoenix since beginning my leadership at Creighton in 2015, and I am especially excited about this new day that the Collaborative Mission Committee represents.
As Creighton University builds our health sciences campus with programs in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and more, in Phoenix, and as we work closely with St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and other essential partners including Valleywise Health and the District Medical Group, I cannot be more pleased that we will also be even more closely connected to the Diocese of Phoenix.
We look forward to the blessings that will flow because of this news from Phoenix, as we all work together to communicate and thrive during this stressful time in health care, education, and all of society.
Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD