s a chaplain at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa downtown, I am often called to the cath lab to offer a prayer for a patient who is being prepared for a diagnostic procedure. One day, the call was for an infant. His parents were waiting in the hallway. The doctors were going to have to give distressing news that complications were evident. Needless to say, the young parents were emotional, although they listened attentively as the doctors spoke with caring and gentle voices. We prayed.
In a while, the doctors came out of the procedure room, saying that the situation seemed to have improved. In the meantime, we phoned the grandparents to ask that they come to the hospital.
I returned to the nurses’ station and the
physician came to ask if I would baptize the baby at the parents’ request.
The parents gave me his name and I donned a hospital gown and mask.
In the lab, the baby was surrounded by health care providers who
eagerly welcomed me and prayed with me as I blessed the baby with
the holy water of baptism. The ritual took only a few seconds;
yet, in that brief time we were all called to an awareness of the
awesome nature of the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.
Soon afterwards, the parents were given more good news—their precious baby was being moved back to the Intensive Care Unit and all seemed well. They were given the tiny shell of baptism as a token of the sacrament. Heart surgery for the baby will likely follow in the next weeks, enlightened by the diagnostic procedure and with the strength of many prayers.
The miracles of modern medicine, the ancient rituals of the church and the caring hearts of the health care team and loving family surrounded that little patient. Each day, there are many such moments here at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa, giving us all cause to pause in gratitude for the gift of life and healing. We work in the midst of hope.
CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Downtown