An estimated crowd of more than 200 co-workers, volunteers, physicians, local ministers, and many area residents gathered at the main entrance to Mercy Hospital Jefferson at noon on Thursday for an official blessing ceremony.
The Most Rev. Edward M. Rice, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Louis presided at the ceremony, which also included prayers and presentations by Donn Sorensen, president of Mercy East Communities, Chaplain Dennis Heck, Mercy Hospital Jefferson president Eric Ammons, health ministry liaison Sister Mary Roch Rocklage RSM, Mercy Health Ministry board chairman Charles Thoele, Mercy Hospital Jefferson board chair Tonda Breeze, and vice president of mission Patrick McCruden.
Bishop Rice acknowledged several Sisters of Mercy in attendance and mentioned how revered they are among the priests of his generation. The speakers frequently referenced the works and words of Catherine McAuley the founder of the Sisters of Mercy religious order and the House of Mercy.
A commemorative bookmark distributed at the event also includes a quote from Catherine McAuley, "The blessing of unity still dwells amongst us, and oh what a blessing!" Additional bookmarks are available at the information desk, administration office, admitting, emergency entrance, gift shop, Apothecary Pharmacy, outpatient rehab desk or in the marketing department while supplies last.
Bishop Rice concluded the ceremony with this prayer: "God the comforter of the afflicted and strength of the weak has brought you together for the dedication of this building, established for the care of the sick. May he strengthen you by his grace, so that in serving the sick with tender charity, you may serve Christ himself, who lives and reigns forever."