Her Excellency, The President of Ireland, Mary McAleese
At the Formal Opening of the 8th Consultation of the ENHCC
Given by the Coordinator of the ENHCC
September 1, 2004
On behalf of all the participants of our Network, as its Coordinator and Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, I thank you for giving us the great honor of coming and opening the deliberations of our Eighth Consultation. What may seem to you as a small group here, are actually representatives of thousands of healthcare chaplains who care for hundreds of thousands if not millions of people in healthcare institutions all over Europe. Your presence here today demonstrates your conviction in proclaiming and defending the infinite value and dignity of every person and your recognition of the existential and spiritual dimension of suffering, illness and death. We thank you for supporting every effort in providing spiritual care within our health care systems, making them therapeutic centers based on love, understanding and faith. I am sure that you will agree with me that our world does not need another impersonal and self-centered organization or institution. It is in need of genuine and articulated love, a love expressed in mutual sharing and common understanding. We assure you that our Network strives to meet this need and to uphold the values you exemplify. Our prayers are that you will be blessed in all of your efforts to improve the healthcare system in your beautiful and hospitable country and that you will be a guiding light for all of us in Europe who share your concerns.
Rev. Dr. Stavros Kofinas
Coordinator of the European Network of Healthcare Chaplaincy
(Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate)