Pastor's Corner

10th Sunday in Ordinary Time

06-09-2024Pastor's CornerFr. Bob Deehan

Many more people are dying at home rather than at the hospital these days thanks to the great work of hospice care. Priests and other ministers entrusted with the spiritual care of the sick should do everything they can to ensure that Catholics in proximate danger of death receive the body of Christ, also called Viaticum on this occasion.

To help us provide these “last rites” and other sacramental ministry that these people are due, please do not wait until the last minute to contact the parish office.

It is unfortunate that in many instances, the dying persons are either unconscious or so sedated that it is difficult for them to receive Viaticum (Holy Communion) or to derive any comfort from the scriptures and prayers offered; and he/she is unable to participate fully in the ritual. Also, often in this situation, the dying person has not yet received the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, which would have been a great source of grace, strength, and healing had it been received earlier in the illness. That’s not to mention that they would miss the opportunity, while still alert, to obtain the sacramental grace of God’s forgiveness, inner healing, and peace that come from making a good confession in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And so, be sure to contact the parish office early in the process so that you or your loved one can receive the appropriate spiritual care they need and deserve. Doing so will be one of the best “final” gifts you can give to a dying loved one.

Also, it’s important to know that the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick (formerly known as “Extreme Unction”) is not meant only for the dying. This sacrament is available to anyone who is seriously ill or injured or who is feeling the infirmities of old age or is anticipating major surgery. People can receive this sacrament a number of times, especially when there is a decline in their condition or because they have developed another illness. So, if you or a family member are in any of these situations, speak to me or Fr. Bill who can administer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick in church after Mass or at another convenient time, if need be, at home. Often this Sacrament can be provided along with the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist, if desired. These Sacraments are special treasures of our faith that allow the Lord to accompany the person in a special way at critical moments on their faith journey. Please spread the word to folks you know would benefit from these opportunities.