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An audience with the pope reverberates at Upstate


Pope Francis during his recent visit to the United States.

Jake Braithwaite, 26, and Brendan Coffey, 30, are chaplain interns at Upstate University Hospital, Braithwaite in neurology and Coffey in cardiology.

The two men have taken vows of chastity, poverty and obedience in the multiyear process of becoming Jesuits. They were among 17 Jesuit novices in Syracuse who were invited to the Mass led by Pope Francis at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Coffey said the joy was palpable in the basilica as the Pope arrived. He stood on a pew to get a good look. He could not hear the Pope, but he saw him make the sign of the cross.

As chaplain interns at Upstate, Coffey and Braithwaite minister to patients who request a spiritual presence.

Braithwaite explained how the Pope‘s compassion is an inspiration, recalling news coverage of him washing the feet of prisoners, and blessing people with deformities. “His instincts are the instincts I hope to replicate when I see patients here at Upstate.”

fall2015coverThis article appears in the fall 2015 issue of Upstate Health magazine.