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Archbishop Dedicates McGivney Center's Hamden Campus

6/28/2009

By Ann DeMatteo, Assistant Metro Editor: New Haven Register

HAMDEN — With a sign of the cross and the sprinkling of holy water, the Most Rev. Henry J. Mansell, archbishop of Hartford, dedicated the Hamden campus of the Hospital of St. Raphael’s Father Michael J. McGivney Center for Cancer Care Tuesday afternoon.

More than 125 hospital officials and supporters, members of the Knights of Columbus, cancer survivors and community officials and supporters attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new center at 2080 Whitney Ave., which was recently opened to patients.

St. Raphael Healthcare System CEO David W. Benfer, Sister Maureen Shaughnessy, general superior of the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth and chair of the St. Raphael’s board of trustees, and Carl A. Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, sat near the podium from which Mansell said a prayer for the new building.

Mansell then gave a sign of the cross to the building and the statue of McGivney outside the front doors. McGivney is the 19th century priest who started the Knights of Columbus from the Church of St. Mary on Hillhouse Avenue in New Haven. A similar statue of McGivney, created by internationally known sculptor Stanley Bleifeld of Weston, stands outside the cancer center at the New Haven hospital. The Knights of Columbus provided the sculpture to the hospital when the cancer center in New Haven opened, and were asked to provide a statue for the Hamden campus.

Mansell also toured the building and sprinkled holy water on the medical machines inside.

Mansell called the facility “beautiful in terms of architecture, style, appointments, so clearly directed at patients. It has a calming atmosphere, bespeaking compassion for patients and a wonderful sense of spirit.”

The 12,585-square-foot cancer center is the culmination of years of planning. The Knights of Columbus provided major financing to launch the $6.6 million project, as did Hamden Lights for Life.

Dr. Charles F. Scholhamer Jr., chairman of the board of trustees of the Saint Raphael Foundation Inc., said that more than $13.2 million was raised as part of the Second Century of Caring Campaign to build the Hamden campus and to replace aging equipment at the New Haven hospital.

He credited many for their fundraising skills, including Dominic Proto, Raymond Peach, and the leaders of Hamden Lights for Life, Chris Wilson, Henry Candido and Nancy Torello. But the Knights of Columbus took the fundraising lead, Scholhamer said.

“Indeed, this is a very proud day for the Knights of Columbus,” which has had a 35-year partnership with the hospital, said Anderson.

Dr. Joseph G. Cardinale, medical director for the center, thanked everyone for their supporting the development of the center.

“Our goal was to be able to give state-of-the-art cancer care in a very caring atmosphere,” Cardinale said.

The center will provide an estimated 4,700 treatments in its first nine months, building up to 8,000 treatments a year. “This center is all about hope. We have the tools, the people and knowledge to heal, to do everything that large, recognized centers do,” Benfer said.

Ann DeMatteo can be reached at adematteo@nhregister.com, or 203-789-5716.


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