Doctor turns to spiritual healing

A Townsville medical doctor who felt a calling to become a priest from his student days has finally been ordained as a deacon by Bishop Michael Putney in an important step towards the priesthood.

The Townsville Bulletin reports that former Townsville doctor Rod Ward looked forward to a life of medicine - but he also felt the calling of the priesthood from an early age.

"Whereas my calling may have been into the priesthood way back then, of course I went the other way into medicine," Dr Ward said following his ordination at Holy Spirit church.

However, he said the feelings that were drawing him to medicine might have been a message to choose the priesthood instead.

Dr Ward finally made the move five years ago.

"I felt it was something that I had to do and I couldn't put it off any longer."

Dr Ward said his family and even his patients had supported his decision.

He said the move from being a doctor to a cleric was not as great as what people might imagine.

"Many of life's difficulties that people are dealing with have both a physical and spiritual elements to them."

"I have had a long career of relating to people so the jump is not that great."

Dr Ward has had a long career as a doctor after graduating from the University of Queensland School of Medicine, working as a government medical officer before moving into private practice in Townsville.

He also held a number of positions with the Australian Medical Association and spent many years with the Army Reserve.

He was heavily involved in rugby league, serving as Townsville's president and as the medical officer for North Queensland, and also assisted the North Queensland Cowboys.

Dr Ward was joined for his ordination by his mother, brother, a sister and a nephew who had come from Gympie for the ceremony.

He told the Bulletin he was looking forward to working closely with the people of the Holy Spirit Parish.

"My energy is for the people of the parish," he said.

The final stage of Dr Ward's spiritual journey will come on 24 November when he will be ordained as a priest at Townsville's Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Doctor changes healing method (Townsville Bulletin, 23/8/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Townsville diocese
Deacon (Wikipedia)
Deacons (Catholic Encyclopaedia, 1910)

Townsville's $200,000-a-day pokie habit worries Centacare (CathNews, 17/8/06)
Townsville Cathedral set for June completion (CathNews, 15/2/06)

23 Aug 2006