What is it like to minister as a chaplain in a hospital?
This photo was taken in Children’s Hospital Los Angeles as Fr. Jim Retzner, OSA was beginning the celebration of a Mass in a patient‘s room. As hospital chaplaincy sometimes requires adapting to difficult conditions, you may notice that the altar is a nurses’ utility cart. Fr. Jim was called in to celebrate a Mass on the first birthday of a patient at the request of that child‘s parents. The patient, parents, grandparents, godparents, and some family members are off-camera to comply with HIPPA regulations. Because Los Angeles is a city of diverse cultures and language groups, another hospital chaplain who assists Fr. Jim is present to his right and preparing to read the gospel in Spanish and also translate Fr. Jim's homily from English to Spanish for the sake of older family members who are present. An RN was also there and working just to Fr. Jim’s left in order to keep watch of the monitors and IV pumps. Fr. Jim is occasionally asked to celebrate Mass in this setting when the patient is unable to leave his or her room. While some might find the setting difficult to minister in he said, “I find great joy and fulfillment in celebrating Mass with such a special congregation. Jesus went out among the people to minister to them. I, for my small part, am able to do similar things in this day and age.”
The California Augustinian kindly requests that the readers of this blog keep the children of Children's Hospital LA and Fr. Jim's ministry to them in your prayers.