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The one hundred honoree: Father John P. Kearns

Profile in Medicine

The one hundred honoree: Father John P. Kearns

Mass General Giving

During challenging times of illness or the end-of-life process, the MGH Chaplaincy offers a unique service for patients, families and caretakers. Talking or simply providing companionship and comfort can help patients face difficult decisions or bring peace. Father John Kearns, a Roman Catholic priest and a member of the MGH Chaplaincy, is a beloved presence known widely for his ability to truly connect with patients, families and staff, and support all through both the best and worst of times.

Mass General staff, impressed and touched by Father John’s warmth and gentle manner, are quick to introduce him to patients in need of comfort. Karen O’Brien, MD, shares, “I have often overheard nurses say, ‘We should have Father John come to talk with this patient or family. He is so good with helping folks.’ I have also had patients who have been readmitted to the hospital ask if Father John could stop by to talk with them.”

Oncology chaplain Katrina Scott explains Father John’s impact: “His deep listening skills and pastoral presence bring a sense of comfort and trust to oncology patients and their families as they face their darkest moments. Possessing a singularly exceptional approach that mixes compassion, intelligence and humor, Father John’s ability to meet patients and families in an open and concerned manner continues to be warmly accepted and deeply appreciated. Transcending the boundaries of race, ethnicity, religion and socio-economic status, Father John’s reassuring presence speaks volumes: of appreciation, of sorrow, of trust, of relief, of compassion, of hope.”