Father John Raphael holds a certificate from the Catholic Medical Association which named him North America’s best chaplain. From left are Catholic Medical Association Executive Director Mario Dickerson, and former CMA President Dr. Marie Boursiquot. At right is Dr. John Schirger, CMA president and a Mayo Clinic cardiologist. Photo by Dr. Wes Ely

From Staff Reports

NASHVILLE, TN — Ascension Saint Thomas West Hospital staff chaplain John Raphael has been named North America’s best chaplain by the Catholic Medical Association.

Father John Raphael accepted his award last month at the medical association’s 88th annual education conference at Opryland Hotel. The association is a national voice for religion and healthcare.

Beyond ministering to patients and employees at Saint Thomas West, Raphael: counsels medical students; writes and publishes articles on cultural issues; and serves on the hospital ethics committee.

“Bridging his knowledge of philosophy, theology, humanism, and bedside clinical experience as a hospital chaplain, and now a diocesan priest, Father John is instrumental as a speaker and author in helping guide thinking locally, nationally and internationally on complicated, timely issues,” said Greg Pope, chief mission and ministry officer at Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital.

Born in New Orleans, Raphael joined the Catholic church as a child. He served in Washington, D.C., Texas and Louisiana before moving to Nashville in 2012. He’s a priest of the Nashville Diocese. He was incardinated (received) about two years ago. Prior to that he was a Carmelite priest. His bachelors degree is from the University of Notre Dame. His master’s degrees are from DeSales School of Theology and the University of San Francisco.