Mass marks 100 years of OSF Saint Mary Medical Center, Galesburg

GALESBURG — By tending to the sick and needy “the way we would tend to Jesus Christ himself,” OSF St. Mary Medical Center here “represents our faith at its best,” Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, said Tuesday at a Mass capping the institution’s yearlong centennial celebration.

The bishop, principal celebrant of the 100th Anniversary Mass — hosted by Immaculate Heart of Mary Church — called the medical center’s milestone “a kind of mountaintop experience” from which to look both back and ahead.

Expressing gratitude to all who have had a role in the rich history of OSF St. Mary, he challenged current staff and supporters to continue “seeing Christ in the face of one another” and to “look forward to the future ready for all of God’s surprising gifts.”

Among those attending the Mass were more than a dozen members of The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, the community which began Catholic health care in Galesburg by converting a judge’s home downtown into a hospital in 1909. The present medical center is located on Galesburg’s west side off Seminary Street.

Sister Judith Ann Duvall, OSF, major superior, addressed the assembly at the close of Mass.

“May the strong faith of our early pioneer Sisters, who laid the foundation of what we see today, and their willingness to sacrifice again and again in the service of this community sustain us today and into the future,” she said. “May their spirit continue to live in us.”

Sister Judith Ann said that “countless lives have been touched over these past 10 decades, including our own.” She thanked all involved for responding to God’s call to share their “talents and gifts, education and experience, and most importantly the love and passion in our hearts to be a living extension of God’s love and care for His people.”

At the offertory, Sister Judith Ann and other Franciscan sisters brought forward symbolic gifts including a commemorative centennial coin, a 100th anniversary book, a hand cross carved by a local artist, and a fleece blanket with the centennial logo. The items were placed at the base of the altar for the liturgy, and at the end of Mass were presented to Bishop Jenky as gifts.

The centennial Mass was concelebrated by Msgr. Ernest Pizzamiglio, pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish; Father William Miller, IC, pastor of Corpus Christi and St. Patrick’s parishes in Galesburg and Sacred Heart, Abingdon; and Father Dennis Spohrer, medical center chaplain and administrator of St. Theresa Parish, Alexis. Deacons David Steeples, Rod Gray, and Jim Haneghan assisted.

An honor guard was provided by the Knights of Columbus, Father Joseph O’Connor Hunt Council No. 556.

In his homily, Bishop Jenky spoke of the example of St. Francis of Assisi in seeing Christ in the needs of our neighbor. Following Communion, vocalist Vicki Lipe sang the Prayer of St. Francis.

Bob Juraco served as cantor, and musicians included Kurt Killam on organ and Maury Kohn on cello. Dr. Richard Flacco was lector. A reception followed the Mass at Costa Catholic Academy.

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