A Seminarian’s Story

One of Danny’s first field assignments as a new seminarian was to the Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton.

Evidently hospitals have a listing of religious affiliations of the patients and Catholic chaplains visit those patients on the list. One of the patients listed as a Catholic had a note written next to his name stating that he did not want to see any Catholic, priest or otherwise.

When Danny saw the notation on the listing prohibiting clergy from his room,  contrary to the instructions, he immediately went to visit the man. As anticipated he was promptly told by the patient to leave the room as he wanted nothing to do with Catholics. Danny was however able to establish a brief conversation about hospital food, etc and just when he thought he was making headway the man launched a vituperative volley of insults concluding with the remark that, “He particularly did not want to see a priest like Danny in his room and get out of here”.

Danny then told him he was not a priest, he was just a seminarian. The patient glared at him and told him that years ago he also was a seminarian. That was the basis for a discussion which culminated with Danny convincing him that at this point in his life when he was so seriously ill he might want to reconsider his unwillingness to see a priest. The patient agreed to have Danny facilitate a meeting with a priest. Danny immediately when down to the Chaplain and told him the story and urged him to visit the man. In a short time the Chaplain returned, furious. He accused Danny of setting him up to be humiliated by a patient and said, “He blasted me and threw me out of the room”.

Danny told the Chaplain to come with him as he bounded back upstairs to the patients room. He told the Chaplain to wait out in the hall while he went into the room. Speaking in a strong and determined voice, he said, “Jim, you and I had an agreement. You told me that you were willing to see a priest, why did you throw that priest out of your room?” He yelled back at Danny that he had changed his mind.

Still determined, Danny told him, “You gave me your word that you were willing to see a priest so, change your mind back again because I am going to bring in a priest with me and I expect you to honor your agreement.” Jim agreed he had given his word so Danny went out in the hall and brought in the Chaplain introduced him to Jim and left. Later that day the Chaplain told Danny he spent almost two hours with Jim and he did hear his confession.

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