by Brad Heidrick
“You did it to me.”
Mother Teresa often leaned on these words when explaining why she did what she did: caring for the infirm, sick, dying (or I imagine anyone who presented themselves in a time of need).
It’s a reference to what Jesus said in the Gospels: “Whatever you did to the least of my brothers and sisters, you have done for me” (Mt 25:40). And that encapsulates our mission at Catholic Community Health, that we respect the dignity of every person, regardless of their background or ability to pay.
I am grateful to have had 35-plus years of experience in the health care industry; and it is definitely a privilege to be the new CEO of Catholic Community Health (Villa St. Francis, Hospice and Homecare). We are blessed to have Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann as our leader ensuring Catholic health care is being faithfully delivered in our archdiocese.
We, as Catholics, have been given direction from our American bishops in the “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.” This tiny booklet (it fits in your pocket) can offer a guide to all of your health care needs.
All the services provided at Catholic Community Health strictly adhere to these guidelines. We don’t look at them as a set of rules that we have to follow, but rather as a structure that informs the way we serve for each person entrusted to our care.
We’re fortunate, as Catholics, to have these guidelines for our care; but being Catholic and providing care goes beyond just that. After all, Jesus didn’t tell us to just care for those that agree with us or look like us; he told us to care for everyone.
One of our hospice volunteers, Barb Trum, often likes to recount the good Samaritan story — a true tale of life over death, and sacrificing for someone in need — and that’s an example and standard that I think we’re all called to.
Barb and Greg Trum and Msgr. Ray Burger, who we were able to honor at our recent record-breaking Fall Ball benefit dinner, are authentic witnesses to this beautiful ministry in Christ. When someone in our community is in need, especially one who can’t care for themselves, we aim to emulate, to the best of our ability, the good Samaritan, Mother Teresa, St. Francis or the countless others who have put others before themselves.
St. Benedict said to “treat all who present themselves as Christ.” If we can recognize Christ in the less fortunate, in particular the elderly, infirm and dying, it doesn’t just make our job easy, it makes it edifying beyond measure. We’re proud to provide authentic Catholic care with an eternal perspective.