Hospital chapel gets a makeover, CCTV system


By Marnie McAllister, Record Assistant Editor

The chapel at Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital — a bright, warm space illuminated by colorful stained-glass windows — received a makeover and adopted a new Sunday Mass time this fall in an effort to better serve patients, their families and the hospital’s staff.

Father Bryan Lamberson, chaplain at Sts. Mary and Elizabeth, said the renovation is a testament to the centrality of faith at the South Louisville hospital and KentuckyOne Health, the hospital’s parent organization.

“It’s a reflection of our desire as an organization to reinstill the Catholic in this Catholic hospital,” Father Lamberson said during an interview last week. “The chapel itself had not been touched in any way for over 30 years. It was kind of tired; the wallpaper was peeling off.”

The renovation included the addition of a statue of Mary and Jesus in a niche, a new tabernacle and a closed-circuit television system that allows patients to watch Mass as it happens in the chapel.

Kneelers have been placed near the statue — which came from the former St. Polycarp Church — and the tabernacle to enable visitors to engage in private prayer. The chapel also received a fresh coat of paint and new wainscoting.

The chapel’s warm paint tones and areas for private prayer “are aimed at making it a more quiet, meditative place,” Father Lamberson said.

“It also serves as a spiritual home away from home when people are here,” he said. “Family members (of patients) and employees are in and out of here all day long. They stop in for quiet prayer before their shift. Family members use it as a place to get their thoughts together and pray.”

Mass is now celebrated at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday evenings and daily Masses are offered at noon Monday through Thursday. The new Sunday time enables weekend staff, who work 12-hour shifts from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., the opportunity to fulfill their Sunday obligation, said Father Lamberson.

The closed-circuit television system — which will air all of the Masses — is perhaps the most significant of the changes.

Father Lamberson said he has helped celebrate Masses for the Mass of the Air for about six years. Before he became involved in that ministry, “I didn’t realize how important it was for people who can’t otherwise go to Mass,” he said. Most of the hospital’s patients, he said, are unable to attend Mass in the chapel.

When Mass isn’t being celebrated, the closed circuit station now shows an image of the tabernacle.

“So, if someone wants to be in eucharistic adoration or pray the rosary from their bed, they can have that image on the TV and have soft spiritual music in the background,” he said, noting that about 25 percent of the hospital’s patients identify themselves as Catholic. “You don’t have to be Catholic to connect to the images and sounds that are presented.”

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