New York City, N.Y., Mar 21, 2020 / 12:00 pm
As the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the United States, the ministry of hospital chaplains is essential for patients and health care professionals. One New York priest told CNA on Thursday that hospitals are the front line for saving souls, as well as lives.
"The hospital situation in the last five to ten years is one of the best places that we are doing evangelization," Fr. John Anderson of ArchCare, a health care ministry of the Archdiocese of New York, told CNA March 19.
"A lot of folks we see haven't seen a priest, or been in a church in five, ten, 15, maybe even longer, years," he said. "So when we train priests for hospital ministry, we really talk a lot about welcoming people back, being hospitable. And we certainly want that to continue during this crisis."
Fr. Anderson oversees the 25 priests who serve as hospital chaplains in the Archdiocese of New York, and is the vice president for mission integration at ArchCare, a "post-acute delivery system" that serves 9,000 people per day in settings including nursing homes, an advanced long-term care program for Medicaid enrollees, and a specialty hospital.