Ministry holds both ordinary and extraordinary moments of grace

I was called to an assisted living facility to provide end-of-life care for a woman whose daughter has faithfully served at her mom’s bedside in a 24/7 capacity for nearly a year. It is fair to say these are the wounded out on that battlefield of life about whom Pope Francis speaks regularly and eloquently.

After anointing the dying woman, I carefully stripped off my mask, gown and latex gloves, as prescribed by clinical procedure. So careful was I to do it correctly that I peeled the whole vesture of contamination into a wad, which, unbeknownst to me, thus enfolded the small container of oil I have used to anoint the sick during my 37 plus years of ministry.

At another sick call two days later, I discovered my loss. Fumbling for my missing oil, I fell short of the required form and matter of the sacrament of the sick and prayed earnestly over a gentleman who took consolation in my lavish laying on of hands as well as being crossed on the forehead with my dry thumb.

In that same week, I visited a woman who had just received word that an immediate progression of events would lead to her heart valve procedure, extended rehab in a care center and placement into assisted living. All this upon the 50th anniversary of ownership of her home, now to be vacated and sold.

Read the full article from our sister publication, Celebration

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