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.
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!
Thomas Carroll, MD, PhD
President, Finger Lakes Guild