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Walking the wards for sick children

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An “immensely rewarding ministry” is how Father Peter Rozitis describes his new role as the Catholic chaplain at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

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“It makes you realise the preciousness of life as you are with people as life starts and sometimes, when it ends … and it is at these moments when people turn to religion,” he said.

The widower, father of seven and now grandfather of 16 said he fully appreciated the enormity of children being unwell and the demands a hospital stay can place on a family.

“When I started here I didn’t realise how many people are long-term patients and that sometimes they just need someone to talk to. And for me, to just listen is very rewarding.”

Fr Rozitis said his years working as a teacher had “prepped him well” to walk the wards.

“My chaplaincy means I can listen to not only Catholics but others who may need support.”

Fr Rozitis said it was important for Catholics to be aware of changes to organising a visit by a chaplain. Previously, chaplains and their teams would visit patients based on a list that was printed according to the faith tradition recorded at the time of admission. However, the introduction of a new computer system known as EPAS means these lists are no longer available at some State hospitals.

“If one of your Catholic relatives is in hospital you need to let your parish priest know and they can organise a visit by the chaplain,” he explained.

Fr Rozitis took over as chaplain a couple of months ago following the retirement of Fr Kevin O’Loughlin after 24 years service at the hospital. Both attended the Women’s and Children’s Health Network’s Christmas service at St Peter’s Cathedral on November 21 which celebrated the ‘babies, children and teenagers who have enriched, or continue to enrich our lives’.

 

 

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