Mother Teresa once said that some people come into our lives as blessings, others as lessons. Jesuit Bob Doran was both to me. I am not a scholar, so it was an unexpected surprise when Bob and I became close friends. It started in the 1980’s when I met him at a retreat weekend I was part of organizing for people with HIV/AIDS.
Father Bill McNicholls the retreat director told us about the Healing Service he led in New York City. At the height of the pandemic, many Catholics were dying of complications from AIDS. Some weeks after the retreat, I told Bob there was a huge need for a Healing Service at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in downtown Toronto.
After discerning prayerfully, Bob took on leadership, and monthly healing masses began from 1989 – 2014. These were very important prayerful services, where some people who had felt alienated and unwelcome by the Catholic Church, found a welcoming home.