My job as a hospital chaplain is to look for the sacred things that happen inside our walls every day. Babies are born, bruised and broken bodies are mended, love is shared, lives are restored and some lives come to a close.
In all of these moments and many more, I am made aware of the sacredness that surrounds us, of that which is so much more than we are, and yet so close. In those moments, I pray. Many others do, too, and so I am delighted to announce the opening of a new chapel at Mount Nittany Medical Center.
A wonderful place to pray or simply sit and quietly reflect, the chapel is located just inside the main entrance to the hospital, next to the lobby, overlooking the future Healing Garden, which is set to officially open next spring. The chapel is designed to be a place of welcome for everyone — patients, families, visitors and staff — and it is open all day, every day.
The chapel features three beautiful stained glass windows and a mosaic designed by David Csicsko, a prominent artist from Chicago. It was a thrill to work with him and to see the designs emerge. We chose nature imagery for the chapel’s artwork because of its peaceful, universal appeal, and in order to complement our new Healing Garden. Look carefully at the stained glass and you will see trees, birds and water in a variety of vibrant colors and textures, made of natural elements such as agate and recycled materials.
When we gathered to dedicate the chapel a few weeks ago, local clergy, hospital staff and administration, friends and visitors joined in the following reading, expressing our hopes for all that it might be:
“We are gathered here today to dedicate this chapel, to set it apart as a sacred space.
May it be a place of welcome for all who enter its doors.
May it be a place of peace, for those who are troubled.
May it be a place of comfort, for those who are lonely or afraid.
May it be a place of communion, for those who reach out to God, and a place of insight, for those who seek the truth.
May it be a place of rest, for those who are weary.
May it be a place of thanksgiving, for those who are healed.
May it be a place of rejoicing, for those who are born.
May it be a place of beauty, inspiration, and aspiration.
May it be a place of hope, of courage and calm, of refreshment and renewal, now, and for many years to come.”
Stop by and see it. Enjoy the peace. It is for you.