Posts Tagged ‘Chaplain’

‘God Didn’t Forget My Bucket List,’ Says Jesuit Chaplain of the House of Representatives

Jesuit Father Patrick ConroyThe 113th Congress recently convened and that means long, busy days ahead for Jesuit Father Patrick Conroy, who serves as the 60th Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The first Jesuit to serve as the chaplain to the House, Fr. Conroy says when he was young his plan was to be a U.S. senator. When Fr. Conroy’s provincial asked him to apply for the chaplain position, Fr. Conroy says, “God didn’t forget my bucket list.”

In this Ignatian News Network video, Fr. Conroy talks about his unique ministry.

Jesuit Ministers to Lawmakers in Nation’s Capital

Jesuit Father Patrick ConroyJesuit Father Patrick Conroy, the first Jesuit to serve as chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, recently returned to his alma mater Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., and he compared his current job in the nation’s capital to working on a college campus.

“It’s like ministering to college students,” Fr. Conroy told the Gonzaga Bulletin. “It’s the same thing in that I’m just present and available to talk about what the members are interested in and what their needs are.”

Fr. Conroy, who has been House chaplain for over a year now, has grown accustomed to life in Washington, D.C.  He’s even found himself a favorite spot in the building: the Chamber of the House when it’s empty.

“That chamber’s been there for 160 years now, and you know the business and the history that’s gone by in that chamber and that’s currently going on in that chamber,” said Fr. Conroy. “Those times when I’m in there alone are pretty focused. And that’s pretty humbling. That’s a sacred time and space.”

While Fr. Conroy didn’t know Speaker of the House John Boehner before getting the position, they shared a Jesuit connection. Boehner, who graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati, wanted a Jesuit for the chaplain position.

Now that the House is in recess, Fr. Conroy has plans to spend some time traveling around the country.

“I’m graced with the relationships that I have, and that I’ve been able to have as a Jesuit, and because I’m Jesuit, I get assigned to something like this that includes interacting with all kinds of people, in all kinds of settings,” said Fr. Conroy.

When Fr. Conroy was newly ordained, he ministered to the Colville and Spokane tribes. After his time on the reservation, he worked as a campus minister at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and Seattle University and then taught at Jesuit High School in Portland, Ore. Read more about Fr. Conroy in the Gonzaga Bulletin.

Jesuit Continues Century-old Tradition of Jesuit Chaplains at Chicago Hospital

Jesuit Father Joel MedinaJesuit Father Joel Medina, a former nurse who was recently ordained at age 56, is the newest Jesuit chaplain at Stroger Hospital in Chicago, where the Jesuits have had a continual presence for more than 100 years.

Fr. Medina celebrated his first Mass as a newly ordained priest in the hospital chapel.

“I think it will be a rich experience to be a priest and to serve patients in any way I can,” said Medina, who is familiar with the hospital, as he served there as a Eucharistic minister when he was studying at Loyola University Chicago.

Medina, who is fluent in English and Spanish, said he is looking forward to working with the diversity of people who serve as employees and volunteers at the hospital.

For more on this story, visit the Chicago-Detroit Province website.

New Jesuit Chaplain Reflects on Life at Holy Cross and His Work With Students

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Even after two years at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., Jesuit Father Gregory Lynch, assistant chaplain, is still talking about his  “new” job as exciting.

It’s a graduation of sorts for him. Before arriving at Mount St. James, Fr. Lynch was a high school history teacher and assistant swim coach at Creighton Preparatory in Omaha, and says he was looking forward to working with older students.

“I enjoy working with college students,” he says. “I’m able to laugh with them and walk on their journey with them at the same time, whereas that is more difficult to do as a high school teacher.”

You can read more about Lynch’s experience as chaplain at Holy Cross here.

Jesuit Father George Winchester Featured In Boston Globe Article on the Increasing Demand for Chaplains at Boston Hospitals

njn_hospitalchaplain1In today’s Boston Globe, health/science reporter Liz Kowalczyk takes a look at the increase in demand for chaplains at Boston hospitals. The story features Jesuit Father George Winchester who talks about his special role as a minister to the sick and dying while requests for his visits soar.

Minutes after arriving at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Rev. George Winchester received an urgent page from the intensive care unit. A man was dying. The chaplain should come immediately.

Winchester found the patient and his son lightly crying. “I hear you’ve made a big decision,” he said.
The conversation marked the start of a relentless recent workday for the Catholic priest, a day that included the traditional jobs of a hospital chaplain, such as anointing of the sick, but that also involved duties once reserved for doctors and nurses: attending medical rounds and helping run a difficult family meeting.

There was no shortage of work. The number of requests from patients, families, and staff for spiritual guidance in one of the country’s most technology-rich medical hubs has soared, as hospitals have expanded the role and number of chaplains.

Since 2004, requests for chaplains at the Brigham have jumped 23 percent. At Massachusetts General Hospital, requests have grown 30 percent since the hospital began tracking visits in 2006. And at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, which expanded its pastoral care program last year, monthly visits are expected to rise to at least 540 this month, a 10-fold increase over the same time last year.

Read More at the Boston Globe site.