The Fifth Day of Advent: A Muslim Prayer Room in a Catholic Hospital

This week I began serving as hospital chaplain at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo.?? Borgess is a Roman Catholic Hospital.?? However, it makes a strong commitment to be inclusive of the religious diversity that makes up the community.?? Many of the doctors and nurses here are Muslim, as well as many of the patients.?? At this Catholic hospital, the interfaith chapel has a separate Muslim prayer room with the prayer times, Qurans, hijabs, and prayer rugs pointing towards Mecca.?? One might be surprised??to find such openness??to religious diversity in??a Catholic hospital where the upper management must be Roman Catholic, but I think it makes perfect sense.?? I believe that since this hospital has a religious affiliation, it is better able to understand the importance of religion in the healing process of patients.?? This hospital is better able to undestand how important religion is to the compassion and energy of the caregivers.?? Because Borgess is Catholic, it respects religion, values it, and creates an open environment.?? It's Catholic identity doesn't lead to the requirement of only Catholic values, but towards a ethic of compassion and celebration of diversity.??
However, while Borgess does a good job at being inclusive, I have identified a place for improvement.?? Every morning and night, we, Chaplains, lead a time of reflection and prayer over the intercom system that is broadcast throughout the entire hospital and at several satellite campuses.?? This time has traditionally been used to read from the Bible or to pray from the Judeo-Christian perspective.?? This Sunday I will be in charge of leading that prayer.?? Instead of praying from the Christian tradition (I used a prayer by Thomas Merton tonight), I will read scripture from the Quran in hopes to move this hospital more towards a place of interfaith inclusivity.?? Hopefully, the patients and staff who are Muslim will feel respected, remembered, and valued.??
I would love to hear from my Muslim friends suggestions of passages from the Quran that would be a good fit for a nightly devotion as a hospital–themes of Allah's love, compassion, and healing touch, etc.



2 thoughts on “The Fifth Day of Advent: A Muslim Prayer Room in a Catholic Hospital

  1. Thanks Jake, for sharing what is working in your area of the world. I appreciate seeing where others are in Chaplaincy.

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