A case of fate meeting faith culminated in the dedication of a new chapel and altar on the North Site campus of Staten Island University Hospital. The event is took place February 27 in the 16-seat chapel with live video streaming to another 250 guests seated in the nearby McGinn Center Auditorium.
His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, presided over a Prayer of Blessing in a multidenominational Christian service led by Father John DeLora, the hospital’s chaplaincy director, with offerings by His Grace Bishop David and Bishop Dr. Victor Brown. Daniel Rodriguez, America’s tenor, sang Amazing Grace.
Creating the new chapel became a labor of love for Father John and the Chapel Committee, sparking hospital-wide and community support in an effort that raised $200,000 since 2014.
Major donors include St. Paul’s School of Nursing which has had a loyal and long-standing clinical affiliation in nursing with the hospital, the Sammarco family, and AnnMarie Catello and family whose gift was in memory of AnnMarie’s late sister, Caroline Dellatte.
Ms. Catello, a key member of the Chapel Committee and patient representation manager at the hospital, a member of Northwell Health, found solace in prayer during her sister’s final illness. The need for a chapel that would be a welcoming spiritual enclave became compelling.
“Our new chapel is a quiet place of prayer for patients, patients’ families and for hospital staff who reach into their souls for the wellspring of compassion they bring to the patient experience,” Ms. Catello said.
In a twist of fate, it was Catello’s family who found the alter. Her husband, Dominic, and sister-in-law Lisa Manuele, attended a business meeting at which contractor Brendan Hughes asked if anyone needed an altar.
Santa Maria School in the Bronx was renovating and their altar needed to be moved to make room for a classroom. Ms. Catello arranged for moving the exquisite altar to their Staten Island backyard for storage and restoration.
News of the altar and its beauty spread quickly serving as an inspiration for the final fund raising that would complete the chapel.
Today, the alter sculpted out of pristine white marble, stands as the religious and visual centerpiece of the new chapel and is one the hospital chaplain knows well. As a newly ordained priest on his first assignment, Father John said Mass for the Sisters of Santa Maria at this very altar.