President’s Note – 27 August 2019

As the incoming president of the Finger Lakes Guild of the Catholic Medical Association, I wanted to take a moment to briefly introduce myself and share some thoughts about where I hope to lead the Guild during my term.  By way of introduction, I am a practicing general internist and palliative care specialist, caring for patients in multiple setting including the office, hospital, and at home.  I also have the honor of directing a first-year medical school course at the U of R and am the director of our new Advanced Communication Training (ACT) Program.  More importantly, I am a husband, father of four…and most importantly…a disciple of Jesus Christ and a member of His Holy Catholic Church.

We live in challenging times where it seems that technology, and indeed society, are changing at a pace unprecedented in human history.  Whether this is strictly true, there is no doubt that our modern world presents formidable challenges for healthcare professionals trying to live devoutly Catholic lives. 

The overarching goal of the Guild is to assist healthcare professionals in upholding the principles of the Catholic Church in the practice of medicine and pursuit of science.  With the leadership of my predecessors, the protection of our Blessed Mother, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Guild has worked effectively toward that goal with educational offerings, lobbying efforts, and community building.  I hope to build on these wonderful accomplishments and make the Guild an ever more effective force of bringing Christ’s light to the world. 

I see two primary areas of focus for our efforts: the big issues and building community.  The big issues include, though are certainly not limited to abortion, physician-assisted suicide/euthanasia, surrogacy, transgender ideology, and freedom of conscience (particularly in the healthcare professions).  With the Catholic principle of subsidiarity in mind, my hope is to position the Guild as a local leader in promoting a culture of life in light of Catholic teaching.  We will address these big issues though speaking events, journal clubs, lobbying of local and state legislators, and regional meetings in collaboration with our fellow New York Guilds of the Catholic Medical Association. 

Actively engaging our community on the big issues is certainly necessary, though unlikely to be effective without also building community.  I can testify from personal experience that as a practicing Catholic in the modern medical world it is very easy to become isolated.  The Guild is well-positioned to offer a forum for Catholics to find, and offer, support in what is often a daily struggle to stay true to the Church’s teachings in their professional lives.  To this end we will continue Catholics @ URMC meetings, collaborate with the Newman Community at the U of R, establish a mentorship program, organize speaking events and quarterly journal clubs, among other opportunities, all in hopes of sustaining a robust community of Catholic healthcare professionals and interested members of the public. 

St. Paul tells us that “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,” (Romans 5:12-21).  In our modern world that seems to have come unmoored from its traditional anchors, I fully expect that the Holy Spirit, though the intersession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is providing graces more than sufficient for our needs, we need only ask.  So please join me in praying for the success of the Finger Lakes Guild in the coming years! 

I would like to make special note of our growing collaboration with St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry.  They have been extremely welcoming and supportive…and the FLG is excited to now have a physical home at St. Bernard’s!  We look forward to a long and fruitful collaboration!

I would also like to especially thank The Most Rev. Salvatore R. Matano for his support of the Finger Lakes Guild.  We are blessed to have such a wonderfully devoted shepherd for our diocese, and I look forward to continuing to work with him during my time as President.

If you would like more information about the Guild, or to become a member, please see our membership, sponsorship, and upcoming events pages.  I hope to see you at our next event!

In closing, please join me in asking for the intersession of our Blessed Mother, Health of the Sick, and Comfort of the Afflicted…Pray for Us!

In Christ,

Thomas Carroll, MD, PhD

President, Finger Lakes Guild

President’s Note

Being the first day of a new year, it is natural to reflect on the events of the past year and consider what the upcoming year may bring. The Guild certainly had an active 2017! We sponsored two evening presentations at St Bernard’s, discussing Medical Missions in May and a Catholic perspective on Physician Assisted Suicide in September. Both events were well attended and most successful. We cosponsored Peter Colosi’s talk on Euthanasia in August as well.  Our annual summer Soiree was a most pleasant evening marked by beautiful weather and gracious company. I especially enjoyed being able to introduce our Guild to Physicians, Nurses and Healthcare workers who were not previously aware of our presence in the community.

As you may know, the Guild is a Chartered member of the Catholic Medical Association. The CMA is a national organization that attends to a myriad of concerns on a wider scale than any local Guild could possibly achieve. The CMA sponsors a Mid Year Forum that is focused on building stronger Guilds. I was able to attend this meeting for a second year in a row, and continue to find it a valuable investment of time. The main event of the CMA is their annual meeting, this year held in Denver. The theme was “Medicine at the Service of Marriage and the Family”. The topics addressed were wide ranging, from the Truth of the Human Person to avoiding Burnout to NFP to Bioethics to the Cultivation of a Healthy Society, among scores of other presentations. Fellow Board members Jean Parker and Angela Maupin were able to attend as well and we were able to network with many other Guild and CMA members from thoughout New York State. A highlight during the conference was the announcement that the New York Appellate Court unanimously rejected the argument that PAS is a constitutional right.

Our Guild is always looking to grow in membership and increase it’s visibility in our area.  Our intent is to make our evening programs of interest to our Catholic community, as well as the community at large. We reach out to our Medical Students and Residents, as well as other health care students, to inform them of our presence and serve as a resource to them on their personal and professional journeys. We hope to sponsor a Physician in training to attend the CMA’s Boot Camp this upcoming summer. We have sponsored tables at the Rochester Men’s and Women’s Conferences to introduce ourselves to those audiences.

Our Board is active and committed in the pursuit of making the Guild relevant to our community. I am sorry to say that our Vice President, Ellen Dailor, M.D.. will be leaving the Rochester area for a new position in Florida. We will miss her greatly. I am thrilled, however, to welcome four new members to our Board in the near future. Drs. Angela Maupin, Thomas Carroll and Bryan Stanistreet and Sue Moncynski, RN will bring a healthy, young energy to the Board, which we will all appreciate.

Looking ahead to 2018, I am excited to announce that the Finger Lakes Guild, together with the Buffalo and Syracuse Guilds, will be sponsoring a day long conference entitled “Catholic Perspectives on Modern Day Health Care” this May 5, 2018. We have an outstanding schedule of speakers, including Wesley Smith J.D., Anne Nolte, M.D., Father Robert McTeigue, S.J., PhD., and Thomas Carroll, M.D. The event will take place at the RIT Inn and Conference Center and will include celebration of the White Mass. Please be sure to mark this on your calendar today and look for further information on our Website in the upcoming months.

It has been a privilege to be involved with the Finger Lakes Guild and I look forward to working with you as we undertake new endeavors this upcoming year. For your part, I would ask you to stay involved. Join the Guild (see our website to access the 2018 membership form). Come to our events. Talk to a colleague or student about us. Invite them to join the Guild and attend one of our events with you. And by all means, join us in prayer that the Guild will continue to grow and be successful in all it’s endeavors!

An evening of sharing and reflection on medical missions

Thursday, 25 May 2017
7-8:30 PM
St. Bernard’s School of Theology
120 French Rd, Rochester, NY 14618

Speaker Panel:
Father Robert Ring, Chaplain, Finger Lakes Guild
Ellen Dailor, MD, Vice President, Finger Lakes Guild
Richard Seeger, MD, President, Finger Lakes Guild

Students and residents are especially welcome!

Refreshments and reception will follow the talk.
This event is free of charge.

Medical Mission Trip

We read in the New Testament that the harvest is great, but the laborers are few. This certainly applies to the medical needs of the Third World. While many countries have some highly trained medical personnel and medical facilities, their distribution remains limited and the needs of the poor are frequently inadequately addressed. Thanks to the generosity of many medical personnel in the First World, medical and surgical missions abroad seek to help those most in need, trying to fill in some of the gaps in local health care delivery.

This last month, I was able to volunteer with the Society of Philippine Surgeons in America on their annual mission trip to their home country. My son, Kevin, age 18, was in attendance as well as a volunteer. Our experience was profound and deeply moving. The presence of a deep and prevailing poverty in the beautiful country of the Philippines was in regular evidence. Fortunately, with the support of Bausch and Lomb, we were able to bring medical and surgical supplies of over US$10,000 to be used for the benefit of the most poor. Working with the fine Ophthalmology Residents of Velez Hospital, in the city of Cebu, we performed some 25-cataract operations and left supplies sufficient for another 25 operations after our departure.

I have included pictures taken on our mission trip, to help you visualize the experience. Perhaps you have an inclination to serve on a medical mission trip, or already have served on one? The Finger Lakes Guild welcomes any pictures or experiences you may wish to share. In either case, we hope that you may be able to join us on May 25th at St Bernard’s School of Theology, 120 French Road, Rochester, 14618, at 7 pm for an evening of reflection and sharing on our own medical mission, both here and abroad. Ellen Dailor, M.D. and I will be presenting some our own experiences with foreign medical mission work.

We hope to see you on May 25th. Please feel free to bring friends and colleagues for this evening of sharing. Our Faith is constantly calling us to care for our fellow man in need!

Richard Seeger, M.D.
President, Finger Lakes Guild