February eleventh is the annual feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes. The day when our Blessed Mother appeared to Saint Bernadette in France and helped her discover a font of flowing water. From this font, countless people have experienced miraculous cures. In turn, our annual World Day of Prayer for the Sick is held on February eleventh.
Part of my local recognition of World Day of Prayer for the Sick 2018 is to remind one another about our need to pray for family members and friends who are sick. I also think its important to remind parishioners how essential informing the parish clergy is regarding sick family members and friends. Health care institutions do not automatically inform the parish when someone is registered in that particular institution, despite the fact that your parish membership is part of the registration process. Nor to health care institutions inform the parish when someone is transferred from one institution to another. We, at the parish, need to hear of someone's condition directly from themselves or a family member. Call us, email us, text us, tell us directly face to face. We do not automatically make a visit to a sick parishioner, but we do promise to pray, pray, pray. And, Deacon Wendt and I do keep the matters of illness confidential to the best of our ability.
The matter of a parishioners illness becomes even more important when someone is in a critical health situation and hospice care. Again, we need to know directly from the individual or family member. And, due to distances and time restraints, I cannot always promise to be at someone's bedside at their dying breath. Please be considerate of that and let us know when someone you love reaches these critical moments in life. You may be amazed at the pastoral care our Church can provide as people prepare to leave this world.
Lest we think that the sick are limited to physical health matters, we need to be conscious of other issues which impact our well-being. There are things like family troubles, marriage difficulties, employment/unemployment, significant life changes or transitions and the like which impact our state of existence. As Church, we need to uplift one another in these times, too. Our prayer immerses these life struggles with the graces our God provides through prayer.
After all, our admittance of being sick or wounded in any way means we have a need for healing. The healing may not always be according to our plan. Rather, we desire to be healed according to God's will. We teach and believe that the Sacraments are the primary place where healing takes place. We are aware that some of these sacraments of healing may be repeated, primarily the Eucharist and Penance. World Day of Prayer for the Sick gives us the opportunity to reconsider our invitation to receive the Lord's healing through our next (and future) reception of Eucharist and Penance. We can then relax and observe the Lord's healing power in our own personal life.
Ultimately, I'm leading to a practice which I'm introducing to our parish cluster calendar. The idea comes from a Canadian priest friend of mine who regularly offers a similar practice called "One Lord, One Shepherd, One Church." He invites parishioners to join him at Eucharistic adoration praying for the needs of his local parish and beyond. My idea here will be called "Stop In Saturday." I'll be offering Eucharistic Adoration and the chance to speak with me directly about yourself or some family member or friends difficulties. The more important time will be for you to spend time in front of the exposed Sacrament praying for your own intentions. We believe the Lord, present among us in Word and Sacrament, will bring the healing He knows is most important for us. I'll be offering Stop in Saturday at least monthly on a Saturday morning, perhaps more often during the upcoming Season of Lent. Stay tuned for more details.
I ask you to join me in praying for the sick, those known and unknown to us, however that sickness manifests itself. May Our Lady of Lourdes lead us closer to the healing waters of Jesus so that His Will is done in our lives.BACK TO LIST