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The award was presented during a meeting of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors at the County Administration Center in Riverside April 8.

“Since coming to the Medical Center, Fr. Celestine has provided outstanding spiritual service by counseling to, praying for and with, anointing, giving last rites to, and providing Mass for thousands of people in need,” Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone said in a prepared statement. 

Fr. Mbanu began his ministry at the medical center in July 2010. To date, he has served more than 3,700 hours at the hospital. The only Catholic priest at the hospital, Fr. Mbanu is available from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. and then is on-call for the rest of the day. 

Fr. Mbanu ministers to an average of 40 Catholic patients each day. As a hospital chaplain, he is available for Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick and Communion. He also provides spiritual counseling to patients, their families and hospital staff as needed.