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Neuhoff Musings

Another Pandemic Story: A Catholic Dentist's Perspective

By Mark Venincasa, MTS '19


Date published: May 29, 2020

As a faith-filled dentist, with an upcoming ordination into the Diocese of Dallas Permanent Diaconate (scheduled for Saturday, June 20, 2020, at 10am, on www.cathdal.org), this pandemic certainly affected me. Just as the pandemic was beginning to affect life within our area, all of a sudden, our state governor abruptly shut down all dental offices from mid-March through April 30, 2020. The only patients that my practice could care for were those who had either a medical emergency or who could not eat. Even though we were considered “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers,” I did not feel essential. 

While I understood the rationale for the executive orders of our governor, I lost the freedom of work. While other health care professionals, grocery store workers, truck drivers, auto repair centers, and more were contributing to keeping the economy and community services going to some degree, I had been relegated to the sidelines. And this did not sit well with me as my faith was informing me that I needed to do more than just sit on the couch, watch “Tiger King” on Netflix, and wait for the next executive order. 

With this inner desire to serve, I threw my energies into doing research on this novel coronavirus, studying how it affects our communities, and how it would affect my delivery of dental care. I spent hours researching this, and as time went on, websites were expanding with more and changing information. With all this new scientific knowledge, I decided to share my cited research from primary reputable sources online, through my dental practice newsletters and website, my LinkedIn profile page, my Facebook dental practice community page, and within my Facebook personal profile page. I also shared online in other postings how my faith was assisting me in enduring the pandemic. In these ways, I was contributing in a different way. As an aside, these research and writing skills were refined during my recent MTS studies within the Neuhoff School of Ministry, for which I am so grateful!

As a result of these activities online, many offered their thanks for the non-political and fair presentation of facts as well as for sharing my faith. Some “shared” my postings within their own social media outlets. To add, as my practice was allowed to open up again, my patients returned to my practice with a trust and desire that I could not have anticipated; my “busyness” was back to normal in the third week following the closures!  I am so thankful for this as our closure was financially devastating. 

During this pandemic, I also found that my faith can carry me through anything. During this pandemic, I also saw that God was leading my efforts, that my desire to serve was ever-present, and that I was able to change my work to a way that others found refreshing, desirable, and perhaps “essential.” May we always do our best to serve our God and others well, always!

dentist


 

Acolyte Institution Lisa

 

Mark Venincasa is a general dentist in north Dallas with a privately-owned practice since 1986. Mark is also a founding parishioner of Prince of Peace Catholic Community in Plano, Texas, and a pastoral minister at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Plano, Texas. He obtained his MTS degree from the University of Dallas Neuhoff School of Ministry in 2019. Mark and his wife Lisa have five children.

 

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