“A part of God’s work” — OSF HealthCare Ministry Headquarters in Peoria blessed

Bishop Tylka blesses the new OSF HealthCare Ministry Headquarters in downtown Peoria and those who will work within it during ceremonies Jan. 25 in the remodeled and restored building's Heritage Hall. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

Before invoking God’s blessing on the new OSF HealthCare Ministry Headquarters during joyful ceremonies in downtown Peoria on Jan. 25, Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka had a message for those “on the front lines” caring for patients in this challenging time of pandemic.

The large OSF HealthCare emblem high on the exterior of the new ministry headquarters is now part of Peoria’s downtown skyline. Here it is seen lit at night from the perspective of the banks of the Illinois River. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

“I want you to know — everyone involved in OSF HealthCare and those who support them — that you are in my daily prayers,” he told more than 100 OSF mission partners assembled for the blessing and dedication.

“I know these are very difficult and challenging times, so any consolation and strength the Lord can give is part of our daily prayer for all of you.”

And with that compassionate nod to present realities, the celebration of a key component of OSF HealthCare’s future mission continued.

“SACRED GROUND”

“Congratulations to all involved in making this day come about,” said Bishop Tylka, calling the results of a three-year remodeling of the historic, seven-story former department store at 124 S.W. Adams in downtown Peoria “amazing” and “truly remarkable.”

Ribbon-cutting ceremonies took place in late December and the project was described in the Jan. 2 edition of The Catholic Post. But now that the hundreds working in the facility have begun to move in, it was time to ask God’s blessing and recognize the building as “sacred ground,” said Sister Judith Ann Duvall, OSF, chairperson of the boards for OSF HealthCare.

The large room at the first-floor entrance where the blessing ceremonies took place is being designed as “Heritage Hall” and will showcase the 144 years of The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis’ health care ministry in central Illinois and beyond.

Sister Judith Ann recalled some of that history and how God has blessed the ministry. Proclaiming that “now it’s our time, it’s our hour, to carry forward this wonderful legacy . . . and to bring to bear the gifts that God has given us in the service of his people,” she added “how blessed we are to be a part of God’s work.”

“A TANGIBLE SIGN”

“May all that we do from this beautiful new headquarters give God all the praise and glory,” said Sister Judith Ann Duvall, OSF, chairperson of the boards of OSF HealthCare. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

Bishop Tylka said the large OSF sign high atop the ministry headquarters clearly visible to those entering the city from the east is “a tangible sign of the presence of the church and the mission of Jesus Christ.”

“And that’s why today is important,” he said. “We’re not just here to move in and start working in a bunch of offices, we’re here to take up a new and wonderful venture of the mission of our Lord and Savior.”

Also speaking at the blessing ceremonies was Bob Sehring, chief executive officer for OSF HealthCare, who thanked all who did “a wonderful job bringing the 117-year-old building back to life. He credited the partnership between OSF, Caterpillar, and the city of Peoria, and added special praise for Sister Agnes Joseph Williams, OSF, who coordinated artwork throughout the facility to reflect its Franciscan roots and faith-based mission.

Sister Agnes Joseph gave a reading at the ceremonies, which also featured musical selections by the OSF Choir directed by John Evancho.

EDITOR’S NOTE: More photos from the blessing ceremony have been posted to The Catholic Post’s site on Facebook.

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