When Dr. Joann Petito-Ross and Dr. Thomas Ross joined the “Doctors with a Heart” network more than 23 years ago, they agreed to provide two weeks of medical services each February to all of their patients free of charge. Instead, they asked their patients to make a donation of canned goods, non-perishable food items, or, if possible, monetary, to the couple’s designated charity of choice – Mount Carmel Guild, the Trenton-based diocesan outreach agency that was founded in 1920 by Bishop Thomas J. Walsh, third bishop of Trenton.
As a way to acknowledge the husband and wife team who own Petito-Ross Chiropractic and Wellness Center, Hamilton, for the tradition they started more than two decades ago, and recognize their tireless and generous efforts in helping those less fortunate, the guild honored them with the Msgr. Joseph C. Shenrock Community Service Award during the agency’s annual fundraiser held April 8 in the Trenton Country Club.
The award is named after Msgr. Joseph C. Shenrock, who has been an advocate of the guild for many years. He came to know about the agency’s work during the years he was diocesan vicar for social concerns, and he also rallied members of the parishes where he served as pastor – Blessed Sacrament, Trenton, and later, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Whiting, to become involved by hosting weekly food and monetary collections and serving as volunteers.
In addition to Petito-Ross Chiropractic and Wellness Center, the guild presented a second Msgr. Joseph C. Shenrock award to St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square, for the many years and varied ways the parish community has assisted with the guild’s endeavors. Campaigns have been initiated and conducted by the students in the parish grammar school in which they collect food and much-needed items, and staff members have helped out by donating days of service.
In accepting the award on behalf of St. Gregory the Great Parish, Father Ian Trammell, pastor, said that part of the parish’s mission statement “is to form disciples of Jesus Christ by the worship of God, living our Catholic identity in an authentic way and by serving others.”
“By remaining close to the Eucharist, we are able to bring the love of Christ and for our neighbor into reality through the work that we participate in with Mount Carmel Guild,” said Father Trammell.
“Not only do we give financial aid to the guild, but every aspect, every program of outreach that we do as a parish is touched by the work that we offer for the poor in the greater Trenton area. I want to thank the guild members, staff and volunteers who serve the poor in the Greater Trenton area through the guild. I want to thank you for the opportunity to assist you in the mission of service to Christ and the poor.”
Dr. Petito-Ross, a member of Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony Parish, Hamilton, shared that it was through learning about the experience of a patient who had been served by the guild that led her staff to wanting to find a means for assisting the guild as well. The practice became involved with Doctors with a Heart, which was founded by an Iowa dentist, Dr. Duane Schmidt, and is comprised of chiropractors, medical doctors, osteopaths, dentists and psychologists and other professionals who saw the need to reach out to those people in their community who had difficulty affording the (medical) services they needed.
Participating doctors can donate their services each Valentine’s Day or during other days of the year to anyone in need, and there is also the opportunity for medical professionals to make a generous contribution to their community by helping those who might otherwise not receive the care they need. Patients are also invited to make donations of non-perishables or money for a local charity of the doctor’s choice.
“Mount Carmel Guild is such a giving and loving organization,” said Dr. Petito-Ross. “They are there said Dr. Petito-Ross. “They are there for those who are so in need of help. The work they do serves such a great purpose; it’s a purpose that can’t be measured.”
Referring to the Lenten season, Dr. Thomas Ross said that during this time of year “we think about Jesus giving the ultimate sacrifice and it’s in this spirit that we give to the Mount Carmel Guild in helping those who are less fortunate.”
“In serving the need and those less fortunate, we serve Jesus,” said Dr. Ross.
Along with the presentation of awards, another highlight of the guild’s April 8 fundraiser provided the opportunity for staff, board members and volunteers to officially welcome Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., as the diocese’s new chief shepherd, and to thank Bishop Emeritus John M. Smith for his constant support of the guild’s work during his 14-year episcopacy.
“To be welcomed by the Mount Carmel Guild and to be associated with the guild touches my heart because it touches my roots as a Vincentian priest,” said Bishop O’Connell, noting how the Vincentian community was founded by St. Vincent de Paul, who spent his life in service of the clergy and of the poor.
“The work you do is the work he did and the work he asked all his sons and daughters to continue,” said Bishop O’Connell. “I thank you and urge you to continue to support the guild and the great work it does for the poor.[[In-content Ad]]