December 14, 2009

St. Boniface General Hospital Christmas Celebration

Toes were tapping as fiddle player Frank Turcott and guitar player John Goertzen filled the St. Boniface General Hospital atrium with the sound of old-time music. Goertzen and Turcott were part of the entertainment during the annual Christmas Celebration held at the hospital on Dec. 10.

Emcee Ronald Chartrand, Liturgy Coordinator for SBGH Spiritual Care, kicked off the event. "We are not only celebrating Christmas, we are celebrating winter solstice," he spoke to the growing crowd in the atrium.

Aboriginal Health Services' Spiritual Care Provider Betty Ross led the opening prayer for the event. Brenda Rowland, an Aboriginal Health Services Patient Advocate spoke on behalf of Aboriginal Health Programs' Director Dr. Catherine Cook, and Dr. Michel Tetreault, President and CEO of St. Boniface General Hospital, was also on hand.

"My wish and hope this season is that we take a moment to listen and learn from the people we love, the people we work with and the people we serve," said Dr. Tetreault.

Staff and visitors received packages of Christmas oranges and candy canes and were entered to win prizes that were given out during the event. In addition to Frank and John's music, the Many Nations One Heart Youth Group from the Aurora Family Therapy Centre performed drumming and singing.

Event organizer and SBGH AHS Site-Coordinator Linda Brazeau was pleased with the outcome. "I always get a good feeling around Christmas so it's nice to share that with everyone."

Reverend Henry Neufeld was also invited to share his story about his continuous work with the Aboriginal community which started by teaching in Moose Lake and in Pangaussi First Nation in the 1950s and '60s. "We fell head over heels," he said about first arriving in Moose Lake. Rev. Neufeld also drummed and sang a gospel song translated into different First Nation languages. The event came to an end in the afternoon with more music and a closing prayer led by Rev. Neufeld.

- Amie Lesyk

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