Bishop Vann’s Visit Spotlights Mental Health Services at Mission Hospital
When Bishop Kevin Vann paid a visit to Mission Hospital in Laguna Beach
on Dec. 16, he revealed his pastoral side by singing Christmas songs in
Spanish, praying with staff members and talking to patients.
The occasion was an honor for everyone at Mission Hospital, but very much
in line with the Bishop’s dedication to spiritual care and healing
for the diverse communities of Orange County.
“A pastoral visit from Bishop Vann is especially meaningful during
Advent, not only for Mission Hospital Laguna Beach patients and their
families, but for all those who provide care to those who are sick and
provide an environment of love, hope and healing,” says Richard
Fridrick, director of
Spiritual Care and Ethics at
Bishop Vann was welcomed by Kenneth McFarland, CEO; Sister Martha Ann Fitzpatrick;
Cindy Mueller, VP Mission Integration; and other hospital leaders before
setting out to tour the Laguna Beach hospital campus.
The Pastor at work
Mission Hospital care is based on the works of mercy: To feed the hungry,
give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, visit
the prisoner, visit the sick and bury the dead.
Fridrick explains that being a “prisoner” can be understood
as someone who is trapped by a disease, mental illness or a chemical dependency.
Mission Hospital in certain circumstances helps families with burial expenses
as needed to provide dignity for the patient as well as the family.
The Bishop was particularly interested in the inpatient and outpatient
mental health services offered to the local community. He visited with
the staff of nutritional care and environmental services, as well as patients
and staff in behavioral health, chemical dependency and the medical/surgical
areas. “We prepared by asking patients in advance if they wished
a visit from the Bishop,” says Fridrick.
In this setting, Fridrick was able to see Bishop Vann, who speaks several
languages, interacting with many people. “He is such an embracing
person. There is so much of Pope Francis in him – in who he is and
how he embraces the community. He just wants to lovingly respond to their
needs and challenges.”
Originally from Springfield, Illinois, Bishop Vann was called to be the
Bishop of Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas for several years prior to being installed
as the Shepherd of the Diocese of Orange in 2012.
He has been called “a bishop of the people.” He often wears
cowboy boots and on the day of his Mission Hospital visit he sported a
bright red cap.
The mission of healing
The healing ministry of Mission Hospital includes spiritual, physical and
emotional care. “We approach the patients where they’re at.
It’s not about our agenda,” says Fridrick. “Our emphasis
is integrating the care through body, mind and spirit. We want to be a
conduit, to help bring people to their wholeness.” This is expressed
in creating a welcoming atmosphere, as well as in the surgery, patient
visitation and meeting sacramental needs. “We continue to bring
wholeness the way Jesus brought it, being radically inclusive of all persons,
regardless of their life’s journey,” he adds.
In this way, the heritage of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange continues.
“We want to actively live out the call and mission – to ‘extend
the healing ministry of Jesus in the tradition of the Sisters of St. Joseph
of Orange by continually improving the health and quality of life of people
in the communities we serve.’”
(This story originally appeared in OC Catholic, 1/28/2016)