Forming Future Priests to Bring Christ to the Sick

By Blackfriars Staff

Through the Dominican Friars Health Care Ministry of New York, Friars and lay collaborators bring the healing presence of Christ to sick men and women over 60,000 times a year at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical Center, and the Hospital for Special Surgery.

According to Fr. Jonah Pollock, O.P., Director of the Health Care Ministry, “St. Dominic founded the Order of Preachers for the mission of preaching the gospel for the salvation of souls. For me, proclaiming the saving truth and love of Jesus Christ has never borne such immediately evident fruit for salvation of another person than in this ministry.”

Recently, five of the ten men who will be ordained to the priesthood this year at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York – including three Franciscan Friars of the Renewal – have completed a Health Care Ministry Internship Program with the Dominican Friars, forming them for what will be an integral part of their service to the Catholic Church as priests. The internship program includes an academic component and supervised experience with patients in the Hospital for Special Surgery.

“Something the Dominicans pointed out—which I saw was true in the hospital—is that, when suffering from a physical malady, a person’s other needs rise to the surface. Oftentimes it’s not their body, it’s their spiritual life and their relationships that they are most concerned about and ask us to pray for,” says Br. John Mary Johnson, C.F.R., a graduate of the internship program who will be ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of New York in May.

Three of the seven Dominican student brothers who will be ordained priests in May are also graduates of the program. “It will be profoundly gratifying for me to impose hands on these eight men during the rites of their ordinations to the priesthood, knowing that, with my brothers at Dominican Friars Health Care Ministry of New York and our outstanding collaborators, I have played a part in preparing them for a ministry that has been so gratifying to me,” says Fr. Pollock.

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