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Easter Sunday in the Hospital: NYU Winthrop Caters to Long Island's Large Christian Population, Broadcasting the Hospital's Easter Service for Patients
March 26, 2018

NYU Winthrop’s Religious Broadcasting Service is a Rarity Among Hospitals, Part of a Holistic Approach That Tends to Physical, Emotional & Spiritual Well-Being of Patients

Mineola, NY — Easter Sunday, which falls on April 1 this year, is the most important of Christian holidays, the celebration of Christ's resurrection from the dead. The majority of Long Islanders are Christian, with more than 50 percent identifying as Roman Catholic. So what happens if you or a family member is among that Christian population and winds up in the hospital on Easter Sunday, unable to attend service? At NYU Winthrop Hospital, if a patient can’t get to mass, the Hospital brings the mass to the patient. NYU Winthrop holds a Roman Catholic Mass in its on-site “Serenity Chapel,” and that service is available via TV broadcast in any room in the Hospital so that patients, together with family and friends, can join in holy celebration. This special religious broadcasting, which is uncommon among hospitals, is a service that NYU Winthrop provides for some major religious holidays, whether Easter for Christians, Menorah lighting for Jewish people, or observance of Ramadan for Muslims, among others. The Hospital also broadcasts interfaith and non-denominational religious services.

“No one wants to be in the hospital, away from home and family on a day that it is spiritually important to the person’s religion,” said Reverend Karen Jones, Director of the Pastoral Care Department at NYU Winthrop Hospital. “That can add to feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can be detrimental to a patient’s physical health. At NYU Winthrop, we bring the religious service to the patient’s bedside, which can be very uplifting and encouraging. It is one of the many ways in which we tend to the spiritual and emotional well-being of patients, not just the physical.”

NYU Winthrop has been a leader in broadcasting religious services via its intranet for more than a decade. More common is for hospitals to provide TV feed to religious services held in the broader community or simply make available major broadcasts such as masses at the Vatican. In contrast, NYU Winthrop’s in-house religious broadcasting allows patients to establish a closer, personal connection with religious holiday observances, since the very same chaplain who looks in on a patient in his/her Hospital room may be the same one giving a holiday sermon in the Serenity Chapel.

“The religious service is not halfway around the world,” added Reverend Jones. “It’s within the walls of the patient’s room and reverberating throughout the Hospital’s halls.”

The Easter Sunday Roman Catholic mass at NYU Winthrop will take place in the Serenity Chapel by the main lobby at 11 a.m. on April 1. Leading the Easter service will be Father Joseph Mungai, who arrived to Long Island recently from Kenya, where he is part of the Franciscan Missionaries of Hope.

Says Father Joseph of the message he hopes to relay to Hospital patients and staff on Easter, “It will be a message of Jesus’s resurrection as well as our own resurrection. We may have human suffering, just like Jesus, and we might stumble and fall, but when we rise, the glorification will be so magnificent that it will make us forget what we went through.”

The Easter service is preceded in the week by an “Out of the Ashes” interfaith service on Wednesday, March 28 at noon, and a non-denominational Good Friday service on Friday, March 30 at noon. The Jewish Passover also begins on Friday, and NYU Winthrop’s Rabbi Anchelle Perl is hosting a community-wide Passover Seder at the Chabad of Mineola on Friday evening.

NYU Winthrop’s Pastoral Care Department, which is celebrating its 20-year anniversary, includes chaplains, a rabbi, priests, community clergy from various faiths, and volunteers. The team provides support to patients and families of all faiths, including those not identifying with any particular belief system. The chaplains are board certified or eligible for certification, having completed theological and clinical training, and they offer healing ministry and spiritual support 24/7.