On Call with Dr. Pepe
Gifts for All Seasons
It's that time of year for buying, wrapping and exchanging gifts. One of the main reasons we have the custom of giving and receiving presents at Christmas is to remind us of the presents given to Jesus by the three Magi: “They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Mt 2: 10-11)
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, I’m reminded of the gifts that Catholic Medical Center receives year round from staff and volunteers who, in their love and adoration for God, give freely of their gifts. We are so blessed to have so much love and support. Our volunteers, board members, donors and staff share their time, talent or treasure at CMC every day. Their generous gifts touch the lives of each patient we serve and support through our state-of-the-art technology, clinical education, community programs and charity care.
Whether they are matching gifts from employers or a grant from a family, corporate or charitable foundation, the treasures we receive help support our Catholic mission. Our yearly “Gift of Heart” employee giving program supports initiatives like the CMC Preventative Food Pantry, Poisson Dental Clinic and our newly-opened Wilson Street Integrative Health Clinic. Every Christmas, we give all our employees free meals on every shift. They in turn give a monetary gift to the Salvation Army by way of the Union Leader. Our employees also do coat drives for the poor every winter (we never asked them to do this!).
Volunteers throughout the organization help offset the cost of services so that we can provide them for free to those in need. Last year, we had 269 volunteers provide just over 35,700 hours with an estimated value of $920,870! Our volunteers provide tangible gifts to our patients and communities. Every day, we see the talents of our prayer shawl knitters, who provide prayer shawls, blankets, hats and pillows to patients undergoing treatment. Our parish nurse volunteers conduct free blood pressure checks and other health services in 20 local houses of worship! Our Eucharistic Ministers bring communion to our Catholic patients 365 days a year, including holidays. Our baby cuddlers provide care and support for families in CMC’s Special Care Nursery, compassionately soothing infants when their parents need to be away and helping the medical staff who care for the babies. The time and talents our volunteer board and committee members give are extremely valuable in helping us carry out our strategy, fiduciary responsibilities and mission.
Christmas is really about a big present that God gave over 2000 years ago – Jesus! John 3:16 says: “God loved the world so much, that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him may not be lost but have eternal life.” At Catholic Medical Center, we are reminded of this great gift not just on Christmas day, but every single day!
Dr. Joseph Pepe is the president and CEO of CMC Healthcare System: Catholic Medical Center, New England Heart & Vascular Institute, and several subsidiaries. He and his wife reside in Manchester.