Dominican Friars Health Care Ministry of New York is an extension of the health care ministry of the Catholic Church. The health care ministry of the Catholic Church is, in turn, an extension of the health care ministry of Jesus Christ. In our reflections on Christ the Healer, we have looked at the healing ministry of Jesus Christ both in his earthly lifetime and in the ongoing healing work that he accomplishes in his Church. The ongoing healing ministry of Jesus is taking place right here in New York City in the various works of the Dominican Friars Health Care Ministry of New York.
The healing ministry of Jesus continues in his body, the Church. In her diversely gifted members, the Church extends the healing work of Jesus: both his work of bodily healing and the deeper healing of the spirit to which his bodily healings point. Through his Church, Jesus continues to perform bodily healings. This takes place in supernatural ways, by the healing power of the sacraments and the miraculous works of the saints, to state prominent examples. More often, the Church’s work of healing takes place in the natural – but no less impressive – accomplishments of her countless medical professionals and health care providers. Through the Church, Jesus also continues to give health to the human spirit, to forgive sins and to save souls. This is the work that is more central to the Church’s mission, which is to carry out the mission of her Lord, the Divine Physician, the one who came to heal us of sickness of sin, division, and eternal death.
Dominican Friars Health Care Ministry exists to extend the healing work of Jesus and his Church in New York City and beyond. Like the health care ministry of Jesus during his lifetime and the health care ministry of the Church he founded, our Health Care Ministry is devoted to the healing of the body, but even more to the healing of the spirit.
Dominican Friars Health Care Ministry of New York, like the Church as a whole, contributes to the healing of bodies in ways that are natural and ways that are supernatural. We extend Christ’s healing in supernatural ways through prayer and the administration of the sacraments. In prayer, we intercede for the sick persons we serve in our ministry. We do this individually and communally. As individuals, all of us who are involved in the Health Care Ministry know in a very personal way the experience of praying for the sick and praying with the sick. We believe those prayers make a difference. God always hears our prayers and answers them according to his wisdom and love. In God’s providence, our prayers for the sick persons we serve become effective means for the accomplishment of bodily and spiritual healing. We also pray for the sick as a community. The sick in the area hospitals are always prayed for in our celebrations of the holy Mass, often by name. There are, in addition, special Masses that we celebrate each year for the sick and those who care for them.
In administering the sacraments to the sick, especially the sacraments of Anointing of the Sick, Reconciliation, and Eucharist, our Health Care Ministry also contributes to bodily healing. The sacraments have primary purpose of communicating the grace of God that gives healing to the soul. Nevertheless, the sacraments, especially the Anointing of the Sick, can also effect bodily healing. another significant way that our Health Care Ministry contributes to bodily healing is by the guidance and support we give to healthcare professionals who practice the healing arts. So many of the people with whom we work and to whom we minister practice, with great skill and dedication, the natural, scientific methods of healing the body. for all that dominican friars health care Ministry does to contribute to bodily healing, our mission, like the mission of Christ and his Church, is directed first and foremost to the healing of the spirit. We do this only by the grace of Jesus Christ that is at work in his Church through the power of the Holy Spirit. The purpose of our Health Care Ministry is to be an instrument of that grace to the people we serve. The healing, life-giving, grace of Christ is at work especially and unfailingly in the sacraments. Administering the sacraments is therefore at the heart of our Health Care Ministry. Administering the sacraments, especially the sacraments of Anointing of the Sick, Reconciliation, and Eucharist, is the first and greatest way we bring the healing Grace of Christ to bear upon the souls of the people we serve.
It also belongs to our mission to be instruments of Christ’s grace in other ways: through our attentive listening and words of encouragement, through our teaching and educating about ways in which the gospel of Christ is brought to bear upon the world of health care, and through the ethical guidance, support and consolation we provide for family members, caregivers, and health care professionals. In these ways and others, Dominican Friars Health Care Ministry of New York participates in the ongoing work of Christ, the Healer.