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OGH chapel embraces history, uniqueness

Posted on: 10/24/2018

Tom Taylor and Pastor Vickie Hedlund stand next to the altar Taylor made 40 years ago which is now housed in the OGH chapel.

Pastoral Care Week is Oct. 21-27

It’s been 40 years since Tom Taylor of Cuba was asked to use his woodworking skills to make some pieces for the former St. Francis Hospital’s 40th anniversary.

His finished pieces included a walnut altar, dove and crucifix. When St. Francis closed, Taylor wasn’t sure what would happen to the pieces. Eventually, they ended up at Olean General Hospital.

Forty years later, they look untouched by time and are just a part of what makes OGH’s chapel unique. Two of the chapel’s stained glass windows came from the St. Francis chapel after being repaired and restored, the St. Francis of Assisi statue that stood in front of the hospital is located at OGH’s St. Francis Heritage Garden near the Front Street/emergency room entrance, and a tabernacle was brought to OGH when St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Limestone closed.

But for those who have visited the OGH chapel, it all comes together as if it was meant to be all along to represent a special place of worship for all faiths. On Taylor’s walnut altar, visitors will find a Catholic bible, Protestant Bible, Torah and Qur’an, welcoming people as an open place of worship and peace.

“As we celebrate Pastoral Care Week (Oct. 21-27), it’s interesting to note how unique our program is. We utilize clergy from different faith traditions, but the program itself still reflects its Franciscan foundation, emphasizing love for all of God’s creation and care for the poor and the sick,” said Pastor Vickie Hedlund, pastoral care coordinator, patient liaison.

We have a full time chaplain on staff, whereas many hospitals utilize call-in, volunteer clergy. OGH takes pastoral care to the next level in meeting the spiritual needs of our patients.”

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