The Ministry of Communion to the Sick

Sickness comes into our lives subtly, and with little hint of how serious it is. Serious sickness is unwanted    but often a reality of life. One truth about sickness is it never asks if this would be a convenient time to come  into our life.

Our family experienced several months of sickness at the end of 2021. For me, a disease in the cornea of my eyes had progressed over several years causing blurry vision. The solution was cornea implant surgery. The cornea was something I never knew much about. I did not know that the cornea protects the pupil and keeps the eyes clean of impurities. I did not appreciate my corneas, until a disease caused blurry vision and needed the cornea from donor tissue to fix my blurred vision. For my wife, her pulmonary doctor ordered a follow up lung MRI to confirm her recovery from pneumonia in 2020. The MRI indicated her lungs had healed, but a spot on her liver was suspicious. We hoped for the best but quietly feared how serious this could be.

Following up with sickness requires time and someone to recommend next steps of testing and treatment. Time enters the sickness equation as getting a diagnosis or treatment scheduled, depending on test availability and symptom severity. We would like information on what is going on, but sometimes what comes next takes time. My wife’s chest MRI led to a biopsy which brought fear and hope into the sickness equation as she tested positive for liver cancer.

In our lives, I had three cornea implant surgeries to correct my vision problem from November to March. I spent many days lying down flat to allow the tissue to attach. For my wife, many MRI and CT scans, radiation treatments, ER visits, and hospitalizations filled the time leading up to her death on March 23, 2022.  Sickness had entered our lives and likely many other parishioners lives. All families dealing with sickness know firsthand how fear and hope create a tug of war on our emotions. Sickness tests our faith, but our relationship with our spouse and family gave us the will to go on.

The devastating news of my wife’s death and of a third cornea implant were moments when faith became the counter-weight to fear and sorrow. Devastating news requires us to choose to give into despair or to have faith that God is present in times of sickness. Through the prayers and support of friends, and the sacrament of anointing, our family felt God’s presence in our time of sickness. Our experience was that faith gave us hope through days of darkness and fear. May others facing sickness in their lives feel God’s presence through the sacraments and the prayers of others.

I share our family story on sickness because other parishioners are experiencing sickness as well, and may feel the isolation from parish life we felt due to sickness.  My work at Incarnation involves ministry to the sick in nursing homes and residences. I oversee scheduling volunteers who take communion to the sick. If you have a loved one who is not able to attend Mass, you can call the parish office and I can help them receive regular communion visits. Feel free to share your story of sickness with me. I learned that God is present at all stages of sickness. Our communion to the sick volunteers can help your loved ones receive communion and the sacraments during times of illness.

Deacon Roger Duffy

No Need to Dot Eyes!

Thanks to Incarnation Parishioners for receiving the roll out of our new Mass schedule with grace and hope in Jesus! Special thanks to 9:00 am and 5:00 pm Mass attendees for the extra sacrifice they are making to carry Jesus’ cross as their Masses retire!

One 9:00 am Mass family illustrates how outstandingly most all parishioners seem to be bearing the cross of upcoming Beacons changes. Gail and Theresa Plunkett, who are among the first half dozen parishioners to arrive at the PAC each Sunday, related to me last weekend how they have been attending PAC Masses before the PAC was finished and when an overflow Mass was held in the school cafeteria/multipurpose room back in the early 90’s. As three of their children and in-laws were with them last weekend, they recalled when their children, being very young and even       in-utero when they were in attendance, were wrangling and wrestling with them through Mass.  I was lucky and blessed that the Plunkett’s are being positive. I’m sure, if they were in a bad mood about Beacon’s changes, both of them being taller than me, could “dot my eye” well and with ease!

Nearer To God Band

Several people asked about how the Nearer to God Band (n2Gb) fits in to the new Mass schedule. At first, parish leaders tried to build a portion of the Mass schedule around them. However, because of too many variables including the number of band members, it was agreed that the Holy Spirit would work things out. At this point, there is a proposal that suggests the 11:30 am Mass will be the new home of the n2Gb. We will see how that goes. Also, if the new Mass schedule needs to flex, one of the primary reasons for such  a flex might be the n2Gb.

The Box Brigade

History buffs will have heard of the “bucket brigade,” the method of moving water by handing buckets from one person to another. I would like to ask the help of Incarnation parishioners after the 10:30 am Mass on June 26 to accomplish a little different kind of brigade…to help me move!

I would greatly appreciate twenty-five or so able-bodied people to help immediately after the 10:30 am Mass on the 26th to pass boxes from one to another until a U-Haul truck is loaded. Even though I have too many books and too much stuff, Botkins Parishioners did the same thing four years ago and I think it took all of twenty minutes! Thanks to those who consider doing so!

Sincerely and with Love in Christ,

Fr. Pat