Priests keep busy
Aug 10, 2015
There's that question: What does a priest do all day? Well, the last couple of weekends may offer an answer. On August 1 there was a large memorial Mass for a person who died in the Midwest and the East Coast members of the family gathered here at 9 AM. This was followed by a funeral Mass and burial at 10 AM. There was a wedding Mass at 2:30 PM; and since it was celebrated by our parishioners at a different parish church, there was a bit of rushing back in order to hear Confessions at 4:15PM, followed by community Mass at 5PM. That kind of day keeps your pastor hopping!
The following weekend began with a call at 8:30 AM requesting a visit to a parish home where there had just been a death. There was time to get back to open the church for the musicians in preparation for the 10 AM Mass. The pastor squeezed in a home visit to bring Holy Communion to a couple who had been away from Mass for health reasons. And then there were 2 babies baptized at 1 PM, followed by the necessary record-keeping.
The point is that these days are not atypical. Weekdays are filled with a lot of administrative stuff, spiritual and sacramental coverage at the Beth Israel/Deaconess, Plymouth Hospital, plus home visits for Holy Communion. During the "quiet" summer months when there are fewer pastoral appointments and religious education is in hiatus, the pastor tries to sneak in a few extra "days off."
And reflecting on all this, please remember that it is appropriate to call the priest to attend to a sick person early in the illness. That death-call mentioned above was not for a person who was being seen on a regular basis by the priest during the gentleman's hospice care. The consolation of the sacraments is so important when people are facing serious and especially life-ending illnesses.
Also, remember that under new Federal laws hospitals cannot reveal any information about patients. There once was a day when the priest (or minister or rabbi) was privy to such information so that the patient could receive holistic care (to include spiritual and sacramental services). But those days have been regulated out of existence by our friendly Federal lawmakers and regulators. So, if you or a family member is going to be in the hospital, you must take the initiative to inform the pastor.
We are fortunate to have a vibrant Catholic ministry at the BID-P, thanks to YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS. This is NOT a service of the BID-P. Ms. Pat Feeley is engaged BY YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS THROUGH THE CATHOLIC APPEAL to provide Catholic services at the hospital. She trains and schedules Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. She schedules the area priests to make daily visits for the Sacrament of the Sick and other spiritual encounters. And she stands ready to coordinate emergency services as they arise.