Our Visit to Holy Family Hospital
New Years Eve, 2008
Marcellino D’Ambrosio, Ph.D.
I first heard of Holy Family Hospital in 2006, just before departing for the Holy Land with a group of US pilgrims. Since we had planned to visitBethlehem anyway, I decided to make a quick stop at the hospital, hoping my pilgrims would not mind a short break in their touring schedule. Far from minding, they came to consider their visit to holy family hospital as one of the most moving experiences of their entire trip. I quickly made two decisions: 1), that we’d incorporate a visit to the hospital into the next Holy Land Tour Schedule and 2) that before departing on our next pilgrimage, scheduled for Christmas 2008, we’d do a little fund raising so as not to come to the hospital empty handed. My wife Susan and I came up with an idea. When it comes to Christmas presents, the founders of the company we do business with, Wellness International Network (WIN), are so hard to shop for! Besides, their whole lives have been devoted to giving to others rather than acquiring things for themselves. The perfect Christmas gift for them would be to make a donation to the holy family hospital in their honor. Instead of keeping this idea all to ourselves, however, we shared it with the many associates of Wellness International Network who attended a business conference at the company’s international headquarters in early December. We referred many of our colleagues to the info and video found on Holy Family’s website. As a result, we collected over the course of the two weeks before our departure nearly $4000 in contributions in honor of Ralph and Cathy Oats, founders ofWellness International Network. The contributors were Christians, Jews, Muslims, and unchurched people of good will from all over the USA and Europe. WIN as a corporation itself donated 80 cuddly teddy bears which we stuffed in our suitcases to bring as Christmas gifts for the newborn of the hospital and the children of the adjoining orphanage.
Several of our WIN colleagues were among the 92 pilgrims who visited the hospital on Dec 31 2008 bearings an assortment of gifts–on the way to the hospital, the pilgrims passed the hat and collected another $1,000 for the children. Yet it is clear that we all received much more than we gave. It is hard to express how it felt to visit the cave where the Virgin Mary had to give birth in a stable since there was no room in the inn, and then only 500 yards away, to visit a state of the art inn where no mother with child is ever turned away. The hospital, though spotlessly clean, was not cold and sterile, but warm, fruitful, and bursting with life. The staff, from varied faiths and backgrounds, were full of smiles. And the children of the orphanage were full of joy. Holy Family Hospital is a beacon of hope in the darkness, an oasis of peace in a land torn by war, a school of charity with doors open to all. We were blessed there and we learned there. Holding one of the babies, a psychiatrist pilgrim remarked that if more people visited Holy Family hospital, there would be a lot fewer prescriptions for Prozac.
Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio is CEO of Wellness Business Ventures, LLC, an independent distributor for Wellness International Network. He is also know through his frequent appearances on EWTN global Catholic Television and work in Catholic Radio. For info on his resources and pilgrimages, visitwww.crossroadsinitiative.com.
In the USA send your donations to:
Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem Foundation
1730 M Street, NW, Suite 403
Washington, DC 20036
For wire transfers in the USA:
Chevy Chase Bank
1800 M Street, NW Washington, DC 20036
Beneficiary Name: Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem Foundation
Account number: 157-430457-7
Routing number: 255071981
For those wishing to donate to the foundation via wire, please notify the foundation firstname.lastname@example.org.