Good Samaritan Hospital’s new glass chapel doors clear the way for quiet prayer

By Karen Osborne
kosborne@catholicreview.org
Twitter: @ReviewOsborne
It wasn’t always easy to pray in quiet reverence in the chapel at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital (MGSH) in northeast Baltimore.
The previous doors to the chapel were fashioned out of wood and dedicated in 1968, when the Catholic hospital opened. According to Jeffrey Matton, president of MGSH, they blocked passersby from viewing the chapel but allowed noise to leak inside from the busy hospital corridor, lobby area and outpatient pharmacy. Matton said that often negatively affected worshippers’ quietude.
On April 15, a set of new glass chapel doors were blessed by Bishop Denis J. Madden in a short ceremony attended by MGSH patients, doctors, nurses and officials.

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The modern, glass doors allow passersby to view what’s happening in the chapel, but seal away the busy hubbub of the rest of the hospital, Matton said.
“We were trying to find the right way to make it inviting to come to the chapel, but to keep out the noise,” Matton said. “The chapel is always the first stop on any tour, and a good way to center on our Catholic identity and our mission.”
Bishop Madden drew parallels between the opening of the Jubilee doors at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City to honor the upcoming Year of Mercy with the opening of the doors at the Good Samaritan Chapel, and encouraged health professionals to remember “God’s great mercy and love in your heart” during their workdays.
“You might say we are really beginning our preparation for this Holy Year by opening and blessing these doors of ours,” he said. “May they be symbols and reminders to all of what happens here and what our true roles are in serving God and his children who come to this wonderful caring hospital. During this year of mercy, every time we pass through the doors we will remember to be very mindful of God’s great mercy and love.”
Steve Zabicki, a parishioner of St. Charles Borromeo in Pikesville, attended the blessing to honor the doctors who took care of him during a recent medical test. Robert Peroutka, an orthopedic surgeon and parishioner of Catholic Community of St. Francis Xavier in Hunt Valley, makes regular stops in the chapel during his work week.
The chapel also has a more personal connection for Peroutka.
“I’ve been here when my family members have been patients,” he explained.
Director of pastoral care Father Guy Kagere regularly celebrates Mass in the chapel. Masses and Catholic prayer services are broadcast to patient rooms, according to hospital officials.

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Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.