The holy presence of many priests from different parishes in the city kicked off the 18th annual Celebration of Light at Maimonides Medical Center (MMC) on November 14 in the board room on the fifth floor of the hospital.
Twenty nine representatives attended the program , each receiving a $1,000 donation to help pay for Christmas trees and decorations that will brighten the holiday season at churches around the borough.
“It started out with a modest little thing,” at Visitation Monastery in 1995, remarked Pamela Brier, president and CEO of MCC, and it has grown since then to 29 parishes. “It’s a happy example of how we’re practicing in life what we talked about,” she continued, saying that although the medical center is fundamentally Jewish, “it’s exciting,” to cross boundaries and help others in the community.
“This event is the living embodiment of the community of many cultures that Maimonides deals with,” Brier stated. “The number 18 is a special sign,” in the Jewish religion, she continued, “it stands for hay (chai) which means life—and that’s what we’re celebrating today.”
Eileen LaRuffa sat at the table listening attentively. She accepted checks for Visitation Academy, for the monastery and the school, and also on behalf of St. Finbar Church, remarking that “Visitation has been the leader for tree lighting.
“It’s very healthy for the parents that would like to keep everything going,” she concluded.
Father Gerasimos Makris, from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church, said he is very grateful for the donation. “It has become a big event,” he added.
“Fill us with light, so we can be light to others,” said Reverend Monsignor David Cassato from St. Athanasius in his invocation.