Congratulations to our three summer deacons as they complete their 10-week internship on August 14, 2015. Deacons Tom Cavera, Jegar Fickel and Colin Mulhall have been working with the Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Spiritual Care department since June 8, 2015, as part of a clinical pastoral education alternative program that focuses on patient interaction and patient care.
How did they come here? Traditionally, after a seminarian’s third year of theology, a transitional deacon is required to complete a health care internship to gain experience with ministering to the sick. In the fall of 2014, the seminarians asked if Mercy Health Saint Mary’s would be interested in hosting their internship, because they wanted to serve in a Catholic organization and within the geographic region in which they ultimately would serve as a priest.
Spending time with patients and families who are of all faiths, the deacons have served within many of the inpatient units, including the emergency department, surgery, Intensive Care, and community benefit sites, especially Heartside. They have assisted Father Ayub at Mass at the Chapel on the second level of the Lacks Cancer Center, and have built relationships with staff throughout the organization.
Bill Manns, president, said to the deacons during a meeting: “We are truly appreciative that you have brought a certain level of energy and excitement to the hospital.”
“My time at the hospital has been a wonderful experience,” said Deacon Cavera. “I was amazed at the dedication and love that the staff has for the patients, and found many nurses willing to engage in prayer with me for the patient’s benefit.”
The deacons have also had the chance to meet weekly with Sr. Myra Bergman for an hour to reflect on their learning as result of spending time with patients and staff. They discuss how the patient care impacts their own spirituality, and ultimately, how it can translate to making them more effective once they enter into full-time ministry as a priest.
“The time has been very formative; it’s been an exciting time to begin ministering as my role as a Deacon…to be the hands and feet of God in a hospital setting,” said Deacon Fickel.
After their tenure at Mercy Health, Deacons Cavera, Fickel and Mulhall will return to Mundelein Seminary, located outside of Chicago, to complete their fourth year of their Master’s in Theology. After graduation in spring of 2016, they will be fully ordained as priests in the diocese of Grand Rapids.
“The deacons have been a wonderful summer addition to the Spiritual Care department and overall organization,” said Brad Mathis, Director, Mission Integration. “The Spiritual Care team will be formally evaluating the experience and getting feedback from the diocese, with the hopes of continuing the summer internship program into the future. If you see any of the deacons over the next few days, please extend a warm thank you for their dedicated service.”
Mathis also asks that colleagues please keep Deacons Tom, Jegar and Colin in prayers and thoughts as they embark on their final year of seminary. For any colleague who would like to send them a card or note, please send to:
1000 E. Maple Ave.
Mundelein IL, 60060