Yesterday I had the blessed opportunity to visit a number of our parishioners in Hotel Dieu Shaver. We are blessed to have this fine rehabilitation center in our own backyard. It was a reminder to me that, even with good intentions, days, weeks, and months pass by, and I fail to reach out to members of our community who are so very grateful for a visit and for me to bring the sacraments to them, namely the Anointing of the Sick and the Eucharist. These are two powerful sacraments where those in need encounter Christ as we pray for comfort, strength, and healing.
One of the most important works of mercy we can do is to visit the sick. Whether they be family members, friends, parishioners, or even strangers, those who are sick need to know that their lives have value because they are loved by God. As Catholics, we can witness to God’s love and show people who are sick that we love them too.
In his encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, St. John Paul II explains that the sick need to know people care about them: “The request which arises from the human heart in the supreme confrontation with suffering and death, especially when faced with the temptation to give up in utter desperation, is above all a request for companionship, sympathy and support in the time of trial. It is a plea for help to keep on hoping when all human hopes fail.” It is our role as Catholics to encourage people who are sick or dying and give them hope.
I am most grateful when a family member or fellow parishioner alerts me of someone who is sick and in need of a visit. These are some of the most precious and memorable moments of my ministry.
Perhaps there is someone who you have been meaning to call or perhaps due to the pandemic you have been putting off a visit. Please do not put it off as there are ways to visit safely. That visit, and perhaps the prayers that you offer together, could very well be the very thing that brightens that person’s day and aids in their healing. May that person look into your eyes and see the eyes of Christ. When you speak may they hear the voice of Christ. And when you hold their hand may they feel the comforting touch of Christ. Just remember to sanitize first.
I look forward to us gathering for Mass this weekend, either in person or virtually. May God continue to bless each of you and those that you love.
From Our Pastor