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Hospital ministry gets Project Advance focus

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New St. Clare of Assisi church hosts launch of 2017 appeal
By Josh Tng
COQUITLAM
 
 
Photo caption: Tim Phan of the Archdiocese of Vancouver's development office helps Project Advance parish representatives pick up informative booklets, posters, and handouts during a campagin launch event April 22 at St. Clare of Assisi. (Josh Tng / The B.C. Catholic)
 
Cultural differences and geographic location cannot separate a Church united by faith, Project Advance’s appeal coordinator says.
 
The theme of this year’s appeal is One Faith, One Church, One Family, said Renata Cecconi. “I think it’s important we are reminded of that because we are a very expansive archdiocese.”
 
Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, said Mass at St. Clare of Assisi Church in Coquitlam and spoke on the importance of stewardship and unity.
 
The April 22 launch also featured the debut screening of this year’s campaign video, which serves to illustrate and raise awareness of ministries supported by Project Advance.
 
This year the video focuses on the role of hospital chaplaincy and the Tapestry Foundation, which raises funds to care for senior patients and residents.
 
Cecconi hopes the video shows “the role hospital chaplains play in bringing comfort and encouragement to all of us during the most vulnerable moments in our life.”
 
Sister Cecilia Cham, FdCC, is the hospital chaplain at Vancouver General Hospital and is featured in this year’s Project Advance video. “I visit patients every day from Monday to Friday and give them comfort,” she says in the video. “I see so much suffering.”
 
She is inspired by the Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Matthew: “When I was sick, you visited me. When I was thirsty, you gave me drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed me.”
 
Although Sister Cecilia says she sees a great deal of suffering in her work, she enjoys it “because I see so many miracles. When I see patients go home healthy, that is the biggest consolation in my ministry. I really thank God for that.”
 
Father Craig Scott, pastor of St. Clare of Assisi, thanked attendees for supporting Project Advance, which helped fund construction of the new parish church. He also spoke about how Project Advance offered the opportunity for stewardship by helping those in need.
 
During a recent visit to Holy Rosary Cathedral for the Chrism Mass April 12, Father Scott spoke with a homeless man outside the building. He noticed many people, including his fellow priests, admiring the newly placed bronze Homeless Jesus statue, but in turn ignoring the homeless man.
 
“I didn’t see one single person say hello to him, including my brother priests. They were admiring the bronze Jesus, while ignoring the real Jesus,” said Father Scott.
 
“If we are going to be the stewards Jesus talks about, we have to be able to recognize Jesus, not in bronze and in plaster, but the real one.”
 
Father Scott noted that in past years Project Advance has supported organizations such as Sancta Maria House of Healing and Luke 15 House. “When the money goes to men and women who are trying to recover from addiction or alcoholism, we are just offering them the Good News (of Christ),” said Father Scott. “That’s what Project Advance does. I am convinced Project Advance is the arm that helps us give Good News to people who desperately need it.”
 
Last year’s appeal raised a record $7.6 million, said Cecconi. “Our community is very generous, and I think we really could go over $8 million; we have the capacity to do so.”
 
More important, however, is increasing the participation rate, she said. “If we can focus on getting as many people as possible to participate in the Project Advance appeal and embrace it to support the archdiocese’s efforts, I think we will probably surpass the $7.6 million. The parish representatives have been doing a great job in fundraising.”
 

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