In the past week, there were several requests for the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick and Dying.
A parishioner’s child was prayed for at our church on Saturday before her going to Children’s Hospital for some proceedure on Monday. Her Mom brought her to me. We had a peaceful prayer time together in the church… A couple of other adult parishioners asked for the Sacrament before serious medical proceedures to be done in hospitals. We held the Sacrament after a weekend Mass, right up front by the ambry*… A parish senior needed a visit and prayers in the Sacrament (family’s request) down at Anne Arundel hospital. I went down there last Thursday night.. . I was on call all week for Doctor’s Hospital and a Catholic person in IMCU needed a priest, as they were nearing death. I came over and prayed for them for Last Rites, offering to them the apostolic pardon and Viaticum* (about 5 or 6 times a year I cover the hospital for emergency calls and special chaplain needs–and other P.G.C. priests cover the other times)… and one of our Catholics in our elderly care homes (Woodward) needed the final rites of The Faith. I was at her bedside just hours before she died, along with some of her family. We also had her on our regular visitation from parish EMHC’s* each week to receive Our Lord.
We cover several elderly homes in visitation by me and EMHC’s, including Evergreen, Willows, Pin Oak, Woodward and Larkin-Chase Nursing Home–offering a monthly Mass and weekly visits from our team of parish help. That effort is coordinated by our parishioner, Miriam Miller, who does a great job at it. You’ll notice after some Masses that members of our EMHC’s come forward to receive Eucharist given in pyxes to be brought to someone.
I was moved by a person’s devotional life. When I was praying over them, as they were quite weak in their hospital bed, they woke up and joined in with me in the rosary I was praying. They were so accustomed to praying the rosary, that they found the strength to join me in it. It tells me a lot about their prayer life and devotion to God. In this case, it showed me that Our Lady, Hope of the Sick, was their prayer partner, and that she was present to them in their time of most need. As the Hail Mary goes…”Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the end of our death.”
James 5:14 says: “Are there sick among us? Let them call upon the priests, for laying on of hands and anointing with oil.” Isaiah 40:1,5,11 says: “Comfort to you, comfort to My people, says your God. I speak with tenderness… and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together…the Lord God shall gather His own with His arm, and bring them close to Himself.” Isaiah prophesizes in 58:2,9: “They seek Me daily, and delight to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ways of the Lord God: they ask of Me for justice, and they take delight in approaching Me…. You shall call, and the Lord shall answer; you shall cry, and He shall say: Here I am.” Mark 6:55-56 tells of Jesus: “Of the whole region around them, they began to carry about in beds those whom were sick, where they heard He was, and wherever He entered in, whether village or city, or country place, they laid the sick in the streets, and they besought Jesus that they might reach out to Him for healing, even by the touch of His garment, and as many as touched Him were made whole.”
Sacrament of Holy Anointing–A Description: And the Lord keeps working among us and caring for His sick, while asking us to be His hands of help and comfort, asking us to be His priestly hands of faith, and desiring the priesthood which He inaugurated to serve Him, to extend in Sacrament a means for His people to be touched by Him, even by the oils of His blessing, and the personal representation of His embodiment to us. ====================================================
*Ambry=it is the glass case of the three sacred oils of the Church, which we keep in the sanctuary area, right above the creedence table, and behind the ambo/pulpit area.
*Apostolic Pardon== priests grant absolution of sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the normal course of Church life, yet in urgent situations, the bishops and pope grant priests to offer, via the apostle’s office in their on-the-scene priestly representation, the last pardon for sins, even to an ailing or dying Catholic who may have difficulty communicating due to their dire illness. Conditions warrant urgent spiritual care to a person in Last Rites ministry. *Viaticum=the final reception of Holy Eucharist
*EMHC’s=Extraordinary (non-clergy) Ministers of Holy Communion go on Thursdays and/or Sundays to our homebound or bed-ridden Catholics in the parish.
*pyx= the holy container used for transporting the Eucharist to a homebound person from Mass/the tabernacle. Plural is pyxes. ==================================================== St. Vincent de Paul: “The spiritual health of any local church can be witnessed by how they notice and then minister to the sick and needy among them.”