Six hours and 16 miles apart, two Franciscan Alliance-affiliated medical facilities on Wednesday were sprinkled with holy water and blessed, a common ritual for its new facilities and equipment.
"We're trying to enliven the mission in every community we serve," Gene Diamond, CEO of Franciscan Alliance’s Northern Indiana Region, said of the double blessing day.
First was the blessing and commitment service of Franciscan Medical Specialists, 757 45th St., in Munster. Later, the new Cedar Lake Health Center, 6831 W. 133rd Ave., was blessed and dedicated.
The physicians group Medical Specialists joined Franciscan Alliance in October in a transaction valued between $15 million and $25 million. It took on the new name Franciscan Medical Specialists.
Wednesday's blessing included prayers, songs and a Bible passage reading.
Dr. Alex Stemer, president of Franciscan Medical Specialists and vice president of strategic planning for Franciscan Alliance Northern Indiana Region, talked about how similar the missions are between Franciscan and the former Medical Specialists, even though Stemer has an Orthodox Jewish background and Franciscan is Roman Catholic.
"The concepts and spirit of what we both believe in are virtually identical," he said.
Both believe in treating every patient with the same care they would give a family member.
"It goes back to the golden rule," Stemer said.
Later, in Cedar Lake, Town Council President Randy Niemeyer said the new health care facility fits in well with the town's master plan for growth.
The center, which opened Nov. 19, is staffed by Drs. James Carlson and Troy Stovall.
David Ruskowski, president of Franciscan St. Anthony Health hospital in Crown Point, said Franciscan purchased land adjacent to the property, thinking toward the future.
"As this community grows, we'll be able to grow along with it," he said.