Kudos: Chaplain Harold

“Dear Chaplain Harold, “Mr Authentic,”
Thank you for bringing my father to life.
It was wonderful meeting you!”

I will never forget you. I was so happy to have you there. I hope other families are blessed by your presence and kind words during their most difficult days.”
(From a patient’s family member in a note received by the Ch. Harold regarding his pastoral care ministry at AMC)

I want you to know that you were a very big person in our lives at the AMC.  It was only 12 days but so very difficult days and you helped to make it less difficult and we thank you so much.  You also helped me to make that very hard decision to let [Redacted] go to his God.  We will always remember you and pray for you to go on and help others with your pastoral and biotechnology care.  You have a special gift and you should continue to use it in any way that God meant for you to do.  Again thank you from all our family.” (From a note from a family member whose loved one was in Ch. Harold’s care.)

Excerpts from the Final Evaluation by CPE supervisor, Rev. Harlan Ratmeyer M.Div., D.Min., manager of the Pastoral Care Department at Albany Medical Center, Albany, New York:

“Harold entered the unit with great energy and gusto. In the first day of meeting he dominated the group with his thoughts and words.

“Harold took his place in the rotation for on call duty both in the day and night rotations. He seemed to love being here. A good number of his pastoral care calls were appreciated by patients and families, and he had some very creative ways of providing ministry to some families not especially interested in a chaplain or pastoral care. He appreciated ministering to people who were not from his faith group as an opportunity for learning.

“Harold worked very hard as a CPE student, more than adequately fulfilling the requirements of verbatims and mid-unit and final evaluations.

Harold has a great interest in this area and many gifts. He notes that he is eager to write his own theology of pastoral care, having read the work of others. He is well versed in church history, the work and theology of the Franciscan Community, liturgy and church order. He could be a rich resource to a department or to peers with these gifts.

“He appeared quite comfortable in relating to patients.

“Harold quite easily developed some significant pastoral relationships. He presented a verbatim on an elderly couple, where the wife was dying. He gentled this Methodist couple through until the husband could no longer tolerate the suffering, and honored her wish that life support be removed. I thought it rather typical in demonstrating that Harold can initiate significant pastoral relationships. His style is to offer suggestions, offer advice, and provide a very strong presence.

“Harold had made a significant contact with a family and when the patient died, they asked him to conduct the funeral service. The family expressed appreciation for Harold’s ministry. These times of individual ministry were occasions for celebration.

“Harold shared considerable critique, regarding his peers, patients, staff and program. Some of his critique and assessments were well thought out and contributed to growth.

Remarkably gifted in many ways…“

Harold…brings an admirable intelligence and conceptual background from a wide field of spiritual and scientific backgrounds to ministry. Reaching out to be informed by these many fields of knowledge seems to be automatic, easy, and even delightful for him. He brought a great deal of knowledge to his work and to our group.”

In a note from a patient’s family member:

“I will never forget you. I was so happy to have you there. I hope other families are blessed by your presence and kind words during their most difficult days.”

Chaplain peers say about Harold:

“The staff love him on the unit.

“I visited one patient who said, ‘He’s a joy!’ “

” the true essence of you…is so so very intelligent, wise, loving, forgiving and freakin funny…”

I am infinitely grateful to all of those whom I am permitted to serve.

Ch. Harold W. Vadney


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