The Chaplaincy Team at Croydon University Hospital was recently awarded a Certificate of Recognition by Croydon Council for their service. The award recognises the dedication of the multi-faith team for providing round-the-clock spiritual and pastoral care for approximately 550 inpatients and their relatives, 4,500 staff and 200 volunteers each year.
“The sick, the vulnerable, and the poor are at the heart of the Church... they must also be at the heart of our human concern and pastoral attention.”
- Pope Francis, Message for the 32nd World Day of the Sick
Hospital Chaplaincy in the Archdiocese of Southwark
Right across the Archdiocese of Southwark, there are priests, deacons, religious and very many lay people, at the service of their local hospital.
In Croydon, at the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, a Multi-Faith Rededication Service was held in the Hospital Chapel, attended by Bishop Philip Moger, Bishop Christopher Chessun (Anglican Bishop of Southwark), Canon Gerard Bradley, the Civic Mayor of Croydon and the Hospital Chaplaincy Team.
The Team itself consists of Rev. Andy Dovey, the Rev. Lynbert Douglas, the Rev. Deborah Premraj and Sister Sheila Moloney DMJ, who is a volunteer (pictured together above). They were collectively awarded a Certificate of Recognition for Service by Croydon Council, acknowledging the spiritual, pastoral and religious care provided to the hospital community. At the same time, many of the chaplaincy's 80 volunteers received a Certificate for Long-Service. The has team supported patients and families throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and been on hand at other challenging times, for example to provide compassionate care to the victims of the 2016 Croydon tram crash.
Speaking of the Award, Deacon Alfred Banya, the Advisor for Healthcare Chaplaincy in the Archdiocese of Southwark, said:
“I am really delighted that Croydon Council has recognised the excellent service that the Chaplaincy Team at Croydon Hospital offers to all patients, relatives and staff, irrespective of faith or belief. The award is particularly welcome at this time when chaplaincy services are under immense pressure.”
Croydon Deanery is blessed with a team of priests from three different parishes who are on-call throughout the week. They are supported by a further team of trained-volunteers who also visit on weekdays, and by a valuable group of Eucharistic Ministers who visit every Sunday morning. Some hospitals in the Diocese are blessed in having a full-time Catholic Chaplain.
It is a great privilege to be with patients in hospital, to be a listening ear, and above all, to be able to pray with those who are sick, whilst the hard-working staff are always happy to be supported in their roles.
In his Message for the 32nd World Day of the Sick Pope Francis invites us all to commend ourselves to Mary Most Holy, Health of the Sick and encourages us to show fraternal care to those who are suffering sickness and isolation. There is always a great need for more people to volunteer to join Hospital Chaplaincy teams: please consider whether you could do so.