Thanks to Deacon Michael Steffes, and Seminarians, Christopher Nowak and Matthew Federico, who served the patients and their families and colleagues of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s for ten weeks in the summer of 2017.
For their final day on July 28, Most Rev. David Walkowiak celebrated Mass at the Chapel of our Lady of Mercy, the second level of Lacks Center.
During the Mass, Deacon Michael Steffes gave the homily, “Before I came here, I knew in my head that this hospital is a holy ground. But while serving here and forming relationships with staff, patients and their families, I came to understand in my heart that this is holy ground. Matt, Chris and I experienced so much love and concern for patients from the staff. Christ’s work doesn’t only come from the chaplains, but rather from the entire care team. My prayer is that Mercy Health Saint Mary’s continues to be the place that bears good fruit.”
Mass was followed by a luncheon with the deacon and seminarians, and “alumni” who also served as deacons for Mercy Health Saint Mary’s as a part of their journey to ordination.
The seminarians and deacon each share a brief takeaway and message of thanks to the staff and patients of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s below:
Christopher Nowak, seminarian, and a native of southern New Jersey, is studying for the Diocese of Gaylord, hoping for ordination in 2019.
Nowak says, “While there are many memories I will take away from this experience —both of trials and blessings — the interaction with the care team on 4 Lacks was a particular highlight. As I spent most of my time on that floor, I was able to get to know the nurses, PCAs, and interdisciplinary team members and be truly part of the team helping to comfort patients and support each other in difficult moments.”
Matthew Federico, seminarian, hails from the Diocese of Saginaw, Michigan and is studying for the Diocese of Saginaw. Although he is not yet a Deacon, he will be ordained a transitional deacon in May 2018 and a priest in May 2019. I currently attend Mundelein Seminary which is located in Mundelein, Illinois, about 50 miles north of downtown Chicago.
Frederico says: “These past ten weeks have flown by at Mercy Health, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Besides getting to know the patients that I have ministered to, I have enjoyed getting to know the staff here at the hospital as well.”
Deacon Michael Steffes is from Portland, Michigan, which is in the Diocese of Grand Rapids, where he will be serving after he is ordained a priest in June 2018.
Steffes said, “It has been a great experience being here at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, and it has made me more comfortable in the hospital setting. It has also given me a new appreciation for the medical team and what they do on a daily basis.”
Thank you to the deacon and seminarians who have served us this summer, and we wish them the best on their journey to ordination.