A space full of grace: Chapel offers streamed-Mass for patients

Chaplain Fr Darryl Mackie in the new chapel in the busy, modern hospital. A new room, below. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

Sydney’s St Vincent’s Private Hospital has become the first in Australia to stream daily Masses from their chapel to patients’ rooms.

The technology is part of a new $95 million east wing re-development currently underway at the Darlinghurst hospital, which once completed will provide 48 extra beds, two new operating theatres including a hybrid theatre, laundry, cafeteria, rehabilitation and consultation rooms and a hydrotherapy pool.

The much-anticipated new chapel is also a feature of the massive renovation complete with state-of-the-art technology including provisions for the hearing impaired, speakers to stream music, extra wide doors to allow beds to be wheeled in and out as well as fire proofing technology.

Funded completely by benefactors, the chapel renovation uses the signature stained-glass windows as an eye-catching backdrop for the new altar.

A special feature of the new chapel pays tribute to Sydney’s first Archbishop, Bede Polding, who died in 1877 where the chapel now stands.

Such was his impact on the early formation of Australian Catholic identity, his funeral saw around 100,000 mourners line the streets of Sydney – at the time an estimated 10 per cent of the state’s population.

Chaplain Fr Darryl Mackie said the new chapel was purposely-designed to meet the needs of today’s busy paced hospital community while remembering its rich history.
He said it assisted the hospital in providing the physical, mental, emotional and social support to people of all denominations.

“We are an incredibly busy hospital so the chapel gives people the perfect opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle for some solitude in a beautiful and sacred space,” he said. “I hear time and time again from staff, patients and their family and friends what a comfort it is knowing this chapel is here.

“And we wanted to make sure it was a space for everyone. Not all staff or patients are Catholic so we ensured the new design was a place everyone would feel welcome in what can be an incredibly stressful time.

“Archbishop Bede Polding died right here in the chapel so we set up a plaque at the very spot to remind people that this is a very special place.

“We are very proud of the new chapel and while building works will be ongoing for some time, we hope we have provided a place for people who want to sit in solitude.”

The multi-million dollar development will be completed in mid-2020.