Lister and QEII hospitals served by new Roman Catholic chaplains

At a special ceremony held in the Lister hospital’s chapel, the Right Reverend Bishop John Sherrington – the Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster – commissioned two new Roman Catholic chaplains to join the
Trust’s chaplaincy team supporting patients at the Lister and QEII hospitals, as well as the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre.

The new chaplains, Jacqueline Humphreys and John-Paul Lyttle, were joined by some 60 people at the ceremony held on Thursday, 21 February. They included a range of Trust staff, some 30 chaplaincy volunteers and three former Roman Catholic chaplains who worked at the Trust previously spanning nearly 40 years.

The Trust’s director of nursing, Angela Thompson, who spoke at the ceremony, said:

“We were delighted to welcome Bishop John Sherrington to the Lister and for his role in the ceremony that saw Jacqueline and John-Paul welcomed formally to the Trust in their new roles as our Roman Catholic chaplains. It was also lovely to see so many people in attendance, especially our wonderful chaplaincy volunteers and the Trust’s three former Roman Catholic chaplains – Father Chris Burgess, Sister Marian Davey and Mrs Bernadette Cassidy.

“Whilst our doctors and nurses always work hard to look after the clinical and emotional well-being of our patients, we look to our chaplaincy team to consider their spiritual needs, as well as those of our staff. The Trust’s chaplaincy team, which comprises both Church of England and Roman Catholic chaplains, offers a confidential ear and support to anyone – not just to those who attend church. We
also have excellent connections with other faith groups in the wider community, which enables us to provide religious and pastoral support for all patients and their carers.”

Jacqueline Humphreys, one of the Trust’s two new Roman Catholic chaplains, said:

“I feel so privileged to be able to work in our hospitals as a Roman Catholic chaplain. Often we are in difficult places and yet I feel God uses us to bring his love and healing. We are blessed and supported by our local Catholic priests who provide Sacramental care to our patients, and by our wonderful team of chaplaincy volunteers who visit and pray for our patients.”

John-Paul Lyttle commented:

“As Roman Catholic chaplains working within the Trust’s chaplaincy team, it is a privilege to walk along side so many patients, their families and staff on their personal journeys. It is extremely rewarding to be ministers of Christ the Healer and Comforter in our daily work.

“It is also a real honour to care pastorally for our Catholics and to reach out to those who are perhaps on the margins of the Church but have been brought to their knees through illness, suffering or tragedy. We also share in the joys and the good news of people too. This ministry is varied, exciting and quite often humbling when seeing first-hand the hard work and care that surrounds our patients.”

Also in attendance at the ceremony on 21 February 2013 was the Dean of the Stevenage Deanery, Father Norbert Fernandes, along with a number of local Roman Catholic priests who support the Trust’s chaplains when it comes to providing sacramental care for patients, their visitors and staff.

The Trust’s chaplaincy volunteers spend time at the Lister and QEII hospitals visiting patients. Both hospitals also have a prayer team who pray for patients and staff. Between them, these volunteers come from areas across east and north Hertfordshire – including Hertford, Hatfield, Welwyn Garden City, Knebworth, Stevenage, Letchworth, Hitchin, Baldock and Royston.