Meet the gay priest who served AIDS patients with Mass, prayers and art

images courtesy of William Hart McNichols

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Early in the AIDS epidemic, there was little in the way of medical treatment available. But spiritual guidance and accompaniment was in high demand. Patients had questions similar to those anyone else with a terminal illness might have: Are my affairs in order? Am I reconciled with my loved ones? Am I ready to die?

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The third episode of “Plague” tells the story of the AIDS crisis from the perspective of a priest, trying to figure out what he could do to help. Father William Hart McNichols, a gay priest who was an early volunteer at St. Vincent’s.

“In the church, gay people don't have a green card—any moment you can be cut off from the church,” Bill said.

Bill talks to Mike O’Loughlin about his mission to accompany hundreds of men in their final days, and how his vocation as an artist came into play.

“It was everything I ever wanted to be as a priest,” Bill told Mike. “And I got to do it all with these people.”

You can listen to “Plague” on Apple Podcasts here, on Google Play here, or on Spotify here.

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