FORT SMITH, Ark. – Mercy plans a Mass of Blessing and Rededication led by Father John K. Antony and Father Norman McFall to celebrate the renovation of St. Edward Chapel and four prayer rooms inside Mercy Hospital Fort Smith. The public is invited to join in this celebration on Thursday, Oct. 13.
“These important sacred spaces help ensure we provide for the spiritual and emotional needs of an ever-growing number of patients, their families and our co-workers,” said Martin Schreiber, vice president of mission for Mercy Fort Smith. “In time of illness and emotional distress, St. Edward Chapel and prayer rooms will bring great comfort and spiritual respite to all who enter.”
The celebratory Mass will include a transfer of the Blessed Sacrament from the chapel’s temporary location to its new enlarged and renovated space. A brief reception will follow, including words of appreciation from Mercy hospital and clinic presidents and Walter Echols and Bennie Westphal, who led the fundraising campaign that made the renovation possible.
“This project was entirely donor funded,” said Westphal, chairman of Mercy Health Foundation Fort Smith. “It feels good knowing so many people share this passion for maintaining a faith-based, high-quality health care ministry here in Fort Smith. We thank all these donors for their belief and partnership in our mission.”
Among the features of the new chapel is a commissioned stained glass that depicts Jesus ministering to the sick, Sisters of Mercy founder Catherine McAuley, as well as Mercy clinicians. The lighted stained glass welcomes visitors to the new chapel, which features new and historically significant furnishings, an improved layout, custom installation of the Stations of the Cross, raised ceilings, recessed lighting, terrazzo floors and new seating.
Because seating is limited in the chapel, the Mass will be aired simultaneously on large screens in the adjacent Hennessy Education Center, near the hospital’s admitting entrance. Members of the public are welcome to attend Mass in the Hennessy Center. Seating will begin 10:30 a.m. for 11 a.m. Mass, which is expected to last one hour.