Christa House in West Babylon is closing
"Christa House, the West Babylon hospice founded to give poor AIDS patients shelter and companionship in their final days, is closing down after more than a decade of ministering to the dying and indigent."
Housed on the grounds of Our Lady of Grace Parish, Christa House opened in 1998 and was the first AIDS facility on Catholic Church property on Long Island. Its founders - a small group of nuns and laywomen headed by Sister Patricia Ryan and Long Beach nurse Jean Prochilo - wanted to provide poor AIDS patients with a family environment where they would not die alone or in pain.
The home's mission broadened later to include other terminally ill people, including some with health insurance.
"I can't give you any of the details," Prochilo said of the shutdown. "But 569 people, before they died, they knew they were loved, cherished, that their lives had meaning and [they] were able to die in peace, safety and dignity."
Sean Dolan, a spokesman for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, said he did not know when or why the nonprofit home would close. Christa House is not directly affiliated with the diocese, he said."We're sorry that it's closing its doors, because it has been a very vital ministry," Dolan said. "We are looking to see what can be done to continue the mission of Christa House through some arrangement with Catholic Health Services."
Although the original intent was to provide a hospice for people with AIDS, they began taking in anyone needing hospice service soon after opening. I know there is a real need for hospice around here so people do not have to travel far to visit loved ones so hopefully something can be worked out with Catholic Health Services.