Blessings to you in the 50th jubilee year for the NACC.
There is so much to be thankful for as we enter this 50th year of the NACC mission. We are grateful to the U.S. bishops who had the foresight and courage in 1965, after Vatican II, to establish the NACC to ensure a training course for hospital chaplains. As Catherine Elliot noted in her 1975 A History of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains, the statement of purpose included the following points:
- The general objective of this association shall be to assist the chaplain toward the realization of progressively higher ideals, with attendant spiritual, intellectual, and personal characteristics, in the pastoral care of patients and staff in the institution.
- To encourage the development of all phases of Catholic life as they relate to institutional practice.
- To afford members an opportunity to communicate with each other and become familiar with resources of all health organizations.
- To develop themselves as genuine Christ-like chaplains, after the example of the Divine Healer of Souls.
- To encourage and promote education and training of priests as chaplains through national, regional, and local meetings, and through training programs.
The NACC has not wavered from reinterpreting and renewing itself in light of this initial charter as it responded to diverse needs and times of history. For this we are grateful.
For those of you who were part of the NACC when it celebrated its 40th anniversary, you will remember the substantive and impressive book, 40th Anniversary Reflections: Wellsprings of Our Journey: 1965-2005, produced by former Vision editor Becky Evans, with assistance from David Lewellen, our current Vision editor. While that booklet is out of print, we will be reproducing a PDF copy for online reading.
We plan throughout 2015 to keep this celebration before us, including the 2015 conference with its jubilee theme “Honoring the Gift,” local/regional events, and many articles in both NACC Now and Vision. Reflections will honor the past by looking forward. The introduction to that 40th anniversary booklet quotes Fr. Richard Tessmer’s emphasis on the importance of history, and offers his insight, “The past thus becomes the first step into the future.”
We so deeply realize that we celebrate this golden jubilee in uncertain times for healthcare and the role of our chaplaincy profession. Yet we are deeply grateful for the many NACC leaders who before us chartered in turbulent waters and uncertain times. We value their vision and courage, and seek to continue the healing ministry of Jesus in the name of the church.
I am so honored and humbled to be part of the NACC at this juncture of its history, and so look forward to celebrating this jubilee year with you!
David A. Lichter, D.Min.