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European Network of Health Care Chaplaincy

Greetings sent to the Annual General Meeting and Silver Jubilee of the National Association of Hospital Chaplains in Ireland

Dear Fellow Chaplains,

On behalf of the 42 National Chaplaincies that make up the European Network of Health Care Chaplaincy (ENHCC), allow me to extend my warmest greetings as you gather for your Annual Meeting, a meeting that will celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the your Association. During this time you will be "Celebrating Christ Joyfully". The joy of this special anniversary is shared by all of us, a joy that gives us strength and hope so as to continue in our common purpose, which is to provide professional and genuine spiritual health care to all who are suffering.

Your meeting takes place during the time of our Lord’s Resurrection. It is a time when we celebrate the true Joy that comes from the Tomb, the joyful news of our eternal salvation. In the Resurrection Story, the Myrrh-Bearing women come to the Tomb to anoint the Giver of Life who has suffered on the Cross as a result of the hate of this world. The women who come to the Tomb are told not to fear but to have joy in the Resurrection and are ordered to go and relay this joy to the rest of the disciples. Their zeal and dedication form one of the most vivid illustrated examples of ministering to those who suffer.

We as chaplains are indeed like the Myrrh-Bearing women who come to the tomb of those who have suffered the injuries of this world so that we can anoint those who lay in their sufferings with the precious ointments of love and mercy. We must remember though that main task we have been given is to relay the joy of Resurrection and eternal life. For the joy of life truly cannot be found in the “tombs” created by the various passions of this world, tombs which house sickness, loneliness and spiritual death, but in the Empty-Tomb of our Philanthropic Lord, which radiates wholeness, a community of love and life eternal. For He who has Risen takes us to Galilee to be ascended with Him and remain with Him for ever in His Father’s Kingdom.

Your National Chaplaincy is truly a lamp of this Resurrected Joy and true community of love! In 2004, the participants of the ENHCC were blessed to bear witness to this joy and to experience your genuine Christ-centered love when your Chaplaincy hosted the 8th Consultation of our Network. For us, this occasion was and will be forever memorable and it is because of the love you gave us that we have been able to continue, each in our own countries and all together as a united group, in our work.

May you be blessed with many more years of service. May your Association continue to grow and as true Myrrh-Bearers, may you continue to seek out those who are in their personal “tombs” and bring them the news of resurrection, joy and life eternal.

With great admiration,

Rev. Dr. Stavros Kofinas
Coordinator of the European Network of Healthcare Chaplaincy
(Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate)