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Following the catastrophic fire which destroyed large sections of the St Joseph Mercy Hospital in Georgetown in 2010, the authorities there have been focused on restoring, improving, and expanding the facilities.

On Friday, June 18, that institution marked and celebrated the completion of another successful step in this direction when Bishop Francis Alleyne OSB of Georgetown blessed and officially opened a renovated chapel and a new pharmacy, according to a Catholic Standard report.

Both structures are within the hospital compound in Kingston, Georgetown. The “impressive”, ground-level pharmacy, conveniently located near the front of the hospital complex, offers easy access to customers who can fill their prescriptions shortly after leaving appointments at a doctor’s clinic or on being discharged from the hospital.

“The new air-conditioned building—which is much larger than the one it replaces—took four months to construct at a cost of (Guy) $14 million. It also has comfortable seating for customers waiting to be attended to and provides 24-hour service every day of the week to patients of the hospital and to the general public with prescriptions to fill,” the diocesan weekly stated.

Along with the filling of prescriptions, the new pharmacy also offers an expanded selection of over-the-counter medications and other products.

In blessing the pharmacy, Bishop Alleyne noted that one characteristic of Jesus Christ’s engagement with people was His reaching out to bring them to a better state of health. “These things are [a] reminder to us of God’s goodness,” the bishop said.

He expressed the hope that many would see God’s presence in their medicating, bringing them closer to Him and His Son, and facilitating wholeness and healing.

In continuing its transformation and to further enhance the material and spiritual health-care delivery at St Joseph’s, a newly renovated chapel of St Joseph was also blessed by the Bishop on Friday.

Reflecting on the scripture readings, Bishop Alleyne highlighted that St Paul had to endure many physical hardships but his zeal for the things of God was always there. Similarly, he said, the hospital is a place where broken people gather, but at the centre of it is an important sacred space.

He pointed out that while Mercy Hospital would have had its challenging moments, “we know that we will rise above the challenges”.

Hospital librarian, Mercy Sister Catherine Glyn-Williams, who is also in charge of the chapel expressed her sincere thanks to all who made the renovation possible.

The not-for-profit hospital, which is managed by the Sisters of Mercy, last year celebrated 75 years of exceptional service to the people of Guyana.

On May 10, 2010, “tens of millions of dollars” in property and equipment were lost in the blaze which completely destroyed the buildings housing the hospital’s chapel, one of two operating theatres, 24-hour emergency room, private doctors’ rooms, the admissions office, the nursing administrator’s office, stores, maintenance, paediatric, dental and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) departments.

Since then, “with the very generous support” of some extremely dedicated groups and individuals, it has already completed many key additions and improvements, the report said.