Thanking the Deacons for Their Service to Patients and Staff

On Friday, July 29, 2016, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s said goodbye to its three deacons from the Grand Rapids Diocese, Stephen Durkee, Kyle Kilpatrick and Steve Geerling, who spent the past ten weeks serving our patients’ spiritual care needs and assisting with weekday Mass at the Chapel on the second level of Lacks Cancer Center.

As a goodbye to the three deacons, Most Rev. David Walkowiak, bishop of the Diocese of Grand Rapids, celebrated Mass onsite in the Chapel, attended by members of Senior Leadership, volunteers, the Spiritual Care department and other colleagues and members of the community.

After Mass, volunteers brought prayer blankets to be blessed by Bishop Walkowiak. Started ten years ago by volunteer Kathy Robinson, prayer blankets are given to provide warmth and comfort for our patients. Special blankets are even made for our NICU patients.

Bishop Walkowiak blesses prayer blanketsBishop Walkowiak celebrating Mass with deaconBishop Walkowiak delivering homilybishop with the deaconsbishop, deacons, priests and Bill Mannsprayer blanket awaits its blessing by Bishop Walkowiakprayer blankets await to be blessedprayer blankets for NICU patients await blessingvolunteer Kathy Robinson w prayer blankets

Materials are donated by the parish of St. Andrew’s Cathedral, and women of all faiths stitch the blankets to prepare them for patients of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s.

“Our patients simply love them,” said Kathy Robinson. “I was inspired to start this after my own health scare 12 years ago, with just two blankets a month. Now we have 30 blankets that we donate each week to the hospital.”

The deacons enjoyed a special lunch hosted by Bill Manns, president of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. We wish the deacons well as they continue their studies at University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, as part of their journey to being ordained as priests in June 2017.

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