Event co-chairs Thomas Driscoll and Thomas P. O'Neill III, Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, and Ellen S. Shafer, chair of the Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem Foundation. Courtesy photo
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BOSTON ? Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem Foundation marked its inaugural event in Boston and the beginning of its expanded outreach efforts into New England by hosting a reception at Boston College, Jan. 11.
Founded in 1888 by the French Daughters of Charity, today the hospital meets the health-care needs of nearly 22,000 women and children per year, providing critical care to nearly 400 infants per year with low birth weight and other health complications. In 1989, the Order of Malta, at the request of Pope St. John Paul II, took over the operation and management of the hospital. The foundation, which is based in Washington D.C., was organized in 1997 to generate and distribute funds for the hospital's operating expenses.
The event featured special guest Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, who offered a message of hope while speaking about the issues facing Christians in the Middle East and the importance of the hospital.
Also speaking was event co-chair the Honorable Thomas P. O'Neill III, former lieutenant governor of Massachusetts. "The hospital is a signature of what health care is about ? peace, hope, and great health," said O'Neill. "It is important for Catholics and other people of good will in New England to be aware of the critical work that Holy Family Hospital is doing to help infants in the birthplace of Jesus Christ."
"Our Catholic teaching hospital and mobile clinics provide state-of-the-art maternity and neonatal care to the neediest women, infants and families of the region ? regardless of religion, ethnicity or ability to pay," stated Ellen S. Shafer, chair of the Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem Foundation. "Now more than ever, with the instability throughout the Middle East, we are so grateful for your prayers and support at this first-time gathering of friends throughout Boston and the New England region to share the works of Holy Family Hospital as an instrument of inter-religious peace and understanding in a region of historical conflict."
According to event co-chair and member of the Order of Malta Thomas Driscoll, the reception sought to raise awareness and strengthen the base of support for the hospital's work. "This hospital ? a mere 500 yards from where Christ was born ? was identified by Pope John Paul II as a top priority for the new Millennium, and in order to ensure its success, he turned to us," Driscoll said of the Order of Malta's involvement. "The work of the Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem not only hits at our core Catholic beliefs and values, but mirrors the basic tenants of our faith and reinforces a primary mandate of the Order of Malta, to help and serve those who are incapable of helping themselves."
The reception was hosted by Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem Foundation in conjunction with the Order of Malta Boston and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, both religious lay organizations. The Order of Malta is a worldwide, lay, religious order of the Roman Catholic Church that works with the sick and the poor and defends the Catholic faith. The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre is a lay institution of the Vatican State. Its members are charged to be stewards and protectors of the Holy Land.