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Catholic Connections

By Sandra Kary


The importance of a name

I never liked my middle name, Lois (sorry Mom and Dad), and as a kid I used to dream up new middle names for myself. The name felt “old” and didn’t seem to suit me. Names are important, they mean something to us personally, they define us to others.

Emmanuel Care, formerly the Catholic Health Ministry of Saskatchewan, believed it was time to rebrand, to choose a new name that meant something more — to them personally, and to those they served. Emmanuel means “God with us,” a fitting name for a canonically commissioned, bishops-owned organization that offers leadership and governance to the majority of Catholic health care organizations in Saskatchewan. It also speaks to the approach of Catholic health care which, as Scott Irwin, president and CEO, states, “believes we are all made in the image of God, and we serve and care for others around us as though God is with us.”

This is also evidenced in the tagline that was chosen — With you — which portrays, much like the parable of the Good Samaritan, the commitment to be with those in need, offering care with compassion and respect.

In my interview with Irwin, I asked, “So why not Emmanuel Health rather than Emmanuel Care? Wouldn’t that have identified you more specifically as health care?”

He pointed back to the Good Samaritan parable, speaking to the broader sense of care that was illustrated — yes, the wounds of the traveller were tended to, but so too were his housing and financial needs. “By choosing the name Emmanuel Care, it allows us to aim for a broader sense of what Catholic health care means. It positions us to branch out to other unmet needs in the community, such as housing or poverty,” Irwin adds.

The new logo also provides rich meaning to express the work of Emmanuel Care. Within the symbol are four different elements:

1. heart — which speaks to the compassion and care for those on the journey;

2. shepherd’s staff — which reflects the ownership of the bishops, and the pastoral aim/duty to serve those who are marginalized or in need;

3. cross — which represents our Catholic/Christian roots;

4. the letter e — which represents Emmanuel.

It is also worth noting that the new corporate colour is a rich magenta, similar to the bishops’ identifying clerical colour.

Finally, Emmanuel Care will utilize in its corporate and advertising materials the positioning statement “A Catholic Health Organization.”

“We are proud of our faith tradition as Catholics, and don’t want to minimize it, yet in our growing secular society, this can be perceived as a barrier by some to the welcome and embrace that we wish to convey,” states Irwin.

Names are important: they mean something to us personally, they define us to others. As I get older, I find myself embracing my name more. The Hebrew meaning of Lois is lion, warrior, one who is strong — not such a bad name to grow into. Thanks Mom and Dad.

Kary is executive director for the Catholic Health Association of Saskatchewan.