A priest formerly with OSF Saint Francis Medical Center has joined the staff at OSF Saint Elizabeth Medical Center. Father Michael Driscoll has been appointed as the hospital’s Chaplain and will also serve as its Director of Pastoral Care.
Fr. Driscoll spent the last nine years in Peoria before being assigned to Ottawa by Bishop Daniel Jenky in July. His role at OSF Saint Elizabeth is new, as is the hospital’s Catholic identity adopted earlier this year. Fr. Driscoll will be responsible for the development and implementation of pastoral services at the hospital for patients, families and staff.
“I basically serve in two capacities, though the roles often overlap,” said Fr. Driscoll. “As Chaplain, I’m able to perform sacraments including communion and Mass. As a director, I fill a more administrative role and help to facilitate and serve the spiritual needs of departments and staff.”
Fr. Driscoll acknowledges that having a full-time priest within the hospital is a new concept to many. However, he adds that reactions to his presence have been positive with patients and employees alike.
“Patients can request a clergy visit,” he said, “at which time, I try to see them five days a week. Plus, I make a point to offer guidance to patients who are entering surgery or have come in through the emergency department.”
His daily and long-term goals include taking the time to sit down with anyone in need of a visit. “Sometimes that request comes directly from the patient,” he said. “Other times, it may be at the request of a doctor or nurse.”
To further attain his goals and complement his pastoral skills, Fr. Driscoll earned a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Bradley University in Peoria. He recently completed the required hours and testing to earn credentials as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. He adds that the extra education has been a valuable resource in terms of helping others through various situations.
Fr. Driscoll also points out that he will offer spiritual guidance regardless of whether someone has a specific denomination or not. He has working relationships with other area priests as well as four other local ministers who are also willing to offer pastoral services to patients at their request.
In addition to building rapport with other clergy, Fr. Driscoll has past ties with the OSF Saint Elizabeth service area. Following his graduation from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in 1985, he spent his summer at St. Columba in Ottawa. Having been ordained a priest in 1992, Fr. Driscoll also became the pastor at St. Theresa in Earlville from 1999 through 2001.
“Now that I’ve made my way back to the Ottawa area, I’m realizing that many people remember me from years ago,” he said. “I made it full circle from my early days at St. Columba. I’m now in residence there, and believe it or not, Father [David] Kipfer is my cousin!”
The two spent their childhoods growing up together in Peoria and have subsequently made Ottawa their homes. Fr. Kipfer was also the local priest who performed the first communion service within the new OSF Saint Elizabeth chapel back in early May prior to Fr. Driscoll’s reassignment.
Fr. Driscoll celebrates Mass at the hospital on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings beginning at 10:30 a.m. A traditional Latin Mass is also celebrated on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday mornings beginning at 9:00 a.m. The OSF Saint Elizabeth chapel is located just off the front lobby inside the main hospital entrance.
For more information on pastoral services offered through OSF Saint Elizabeth, or to reach Fr. Driscoll, call (815) 431-5107.