by Joe Bollig
LENEXA — He tries to remain impartial. But if Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann has a favorite ministry, it just might be the one he visited on Nov. 1.
Surrounded by staff members and volunteers, Archbishop Naumann blessed and dedicated the new offices of Catholic Community Hospice.
Welcoming “the new birth of hospice,” he recounted how his own mother, who died in 2020, was cared for by Catholic Community Hospice.
“I had a chance to witness firsthand the beauty of the ministry you do,” said Archbishop Naumann. “Thank you for helping us as a church to be present where we really need to be, with those who are dying and with their families . . . bringing the best comfort care we can bring, but [also] bringing the truth of Jesus’ victory over death.”
For so many, said the archbishop, the hospice helps transform those final hours “into moments of hope and blessing . . . and [create the opportunity to] heal relationships within families, making these moments of great grace.”
The new offices are in Suite 220 on the second floor of the CoreFirst Bank & Trust Building, located at 16201 W. 95th St. in Lenexa, just off Interstate 435.
Catholic Community Hospice was founded in 1998 as part of Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas.
In May, the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas announced the reorganization of three major health care ministries sponsored by the archdiocese. The Northeast Kansas Catholic Healthcare Services, Inc., was created to place Catholic Community Hospice and Villa St. Francis Catholic Care Center of Olathe under a common governance model.
“We have the same mission and goals we always had at Catholic Community Hospice,” said Deacon Jim Lavin, hospice chaplain. “But now with this new entity, we are part of an organization in the church that is experienced, from the management on down, in providing the compassionate medical, spiritual care and senior care that [our patients need].”
Catholic Community Hospice occupies about 3,000 square feet of rented office space, consisting of six offices, a conference room, break room, supply room and reception area. If needed, there is room for expansion to other parts of the second floor.
The new offices provide more space and great highway access, said Rodney Whittington, CEO of Catholic Community Hospice and Villa St. Francis.
“[The offices] are very modern,” he said. “They updated all the finishes for us. We’re really excited for the fresh start for the employees and the organization.”
The new offices will house the work of administration, training, meetings, volunteer orientation and supplies distribution. Catholic Community Hospice serves a territory covering a one-hour driving time from the new offices, said Duke Onkoba, clinical director.
Catholic Community Hospice has 47 employees, 10 of them office staff, and about 40 volunteers.
Deacon Lavin sees a great future of growth and collaboration, and possibly even expansion.
“We can work together as a unit to support each other, Villa St. Francis and Catholic Community Hospice, and whatever future organizations may be a part of us someday,” he said.