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Published Thursday, September 6, 2012 5:00 pm

September 6, 2012

by Dr. Paul R. Ahr, President & CEO, Camillus House

This week my wife Patricia and I were in Ireland visiting with family from both sides of the Atlantic and attending festivities associated with the Notre Dame vs. Navy football game in Dublin. As a former U.S. Naval Officer, I was sorry to see their team lose, but as a Notre Dame alumnus, I was delighted with the outcome.

On Saturday and Sunday Pat and I attended two Masses celebrated with and for the Notre Dame family. The first was an outdoor Mass at Dublin Castle attended by several thousand worshipers. On Sunday we were at the historic St. Mary's Church on Dublin's Haddington Road. Parish officials had planned for 450 worshipers; over a thousand attended.

During Sunday's Mass the Notre Dame folk choir sang St. Louisan Peter Fisher Hesed's beautiful Partners in the Mission, which I had never heard before. The lyrics reminded me of Camillus House and Camillus Health and why we do what we do.

Watch the Notre Dame folk choir sing this moving song

Partners in the Mission

In the lives of all who suffer, in the fear and in the pain,
God is there when in our trials Christ is crucified again.
May we recognize our Savior in the stranger on the road;
May we bend to bind the wounded, help the burdened bear the load.

We are partners in the work of bringing faith and hope to birth;
Seeking wholeness for the broken, we, the hands of Christ on earth.
Like the saints who came before us, let our deeds and witness be
Living promise of the Kingdom, and a sign of unity.

While on earth this is our calling, learn to bear the beams of love.
We are sent to live for others, sent on mission from above;
Though we tremble at love's burden, it is easy, it is light;
As we seek eternal splendor, may our souls with love burn bright.

On Tuesday, Pat and I visited the facilities of the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God at Stillorgan near Dublin. There we were warmly greeted by the staff and Brothers and toured the St. John of God Hospital, a private psychiatric hospital, St. Joseph's Centre, a nursing home for persons who are elderly, and the Order of Hospitallers' museum.

Our hostesses and hosts included Emma Balmaine, Hospital CEO; Dr. Bernadette Mangan, Clinical Director; Joe Kelley, Chief of Operations; Lesley Vard, Director of Nursing; Brid O'Meara, Director of the St. Joseph's facility; and Brother Thomas O'Grady, OH.

At left, our tour is under way with Kate McCallion and Hospital CEO Emma Balmaine. Note the biography of Brother Mathias Barrett in my right hand, authored and presented by Brother Thomas O'Grady, OH.

On March 17, 1916, a young Maurice Barrett entered this order of Brothers at the Stillorgan location, taking the name Brother Mathias. Thirty-five years later he founded the Congregation of the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd, and in 1960, he came to Miami where he founded Camillus House.

Above, photo displays on the life of Brother Mathias Barrett, BGS and the Congregation of the Brothers of the Good Shepherd at Stillorgan, Ireland. [Photos by Brother Thomas O'Grady, OH]

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Serving the South Florida community since 1960, Camillus House is a non-profit organization that provides humanitarian services to men, women and children who are poor and homeless.