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Pastoral Care for the Sick

Jul 12, 2013 | [post_view] Views

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MASS FOR THE SICK

It is the second Friday of the month; we celebrate the Mass for the Sick.

Me, too, like the others, who attended the 8:00 am mass, was also hopeful that something great would happen today. Like our parishioners with their intentions and prayers of healing, I am also praying for the healing of my sick father. He was paralyzed by a severe accident abroad; and is now in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the Philippine National Orthopedic Center in Quezon City.

Fr. Marlon, inspires us in his homily—“Jesus, Himself is the healer who shares His healing ministry with His disciples.”  The disciples are Jesus’ followers who offer themselves in a ministry dedicated in healing others.

FR. MARLON’S HOMILY– On Healing

Curing the sick is very difficult, but the Lord continues to send disciples, like the priests to heal the sick. This is what we call today as the Pastoral Care for the Sick.

God do not abandon all those who are sick. The Church anoints those who are sick for healing. Anointing of the Sick is one of our Church’s seven Sacraments.

Kanino pa ba tayo lalapit, aside sa mga doctors, kundi sa Dyos. (To whom shall we go, aside from the doctors, but to God). God shares his healing mission to his disciples. The gift of healing is what Jesus shared to all his followers.

During the time of Jesus, it is always a part of the disciples’ mission to heal the sick. Disciples also drive-off evil-spirits and they also forgive sins. Above all, Kabilin-bilinan nya sa lahat ng kanyang isinugo… (He commissioned all those he has sent…) to cure the sick.

TOGETHER… as Self-Givers

Aside from our sick brothers and sisters, volunteers were with us. They were lay-peoples who were touched by the dire need of our parish. They all came from different walks of life and most of them were nurses.

After the mass, the façade of the parish was instantly converted to a large-open clinic. Volunteers pulled out some of the parish’s office tables. Chairs were borrowed from the hall. Fr. Joel, SSS, already prepared the medicines to be given today which he has solicited from our generous benefactors.

Fr. Joel, usually announces the needs of our sick parishioners during the Mass. “Sa pakonti-konti na nagbibigay, kapag naipon, marami ang natutulungan. (Many were helped by these little contributions).
There were medicines for cough, runny-nose, fever, hyper-tension and even asthma. They will be given for free to those who were diagnosed by our volunteers who truly care for the sick.

The parish volunteers provide free check-ups and consultations.  They also give referrals to our friend-doctors. I’m so happy to know that they also assess children’s medical condition.  Moreover, after the typhoon Sendong, the parish started giving counseling for those who need emotional support. Fr. Marlon, after the mass, heard confessions and gave Spiritual counseling.  In the ‘busyness’ of the parish’s façade, parishioners were given a sanctuary of peace and silence inside the church where the Blessed Sacrament was exposed after the Mass for the Sick.

UPCLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH THE VOLUNTEERS…
The Unsung Heroes

Before the Mass for the Sick, I had the chance to ‘peep-in’ (have a glance) to the lives of some of our unsung heroes. The group that I had a chance to chat with was a bunch of barkada (friends). Their group happens to start volunteering since the typhoon Sendong way back year 2011.

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They told me that Liceo’s student body organization (SBO) invited them to help and that was the start of their long-running commitment.

They shared to me their experiences. I just listened.

Ms. DEMLYN DOTILLOS, 21: I am always moved by the first hand experiences that I usually heard in every patient who approached me. Their stories tell about themselves… their dreams, aspirations, their challenges and their longings.  All of us cannot forget the typhoon Sendong tragedy. It was too horrifying to keep in mind but Sendong moved me to make a choice to help others in my simple way. I am happy that our Parish Church believes in my God given talents; and appreciated my professional skills to help others. This kind of Church’s mission-project provides us a venue to serve our fellowmen.

MS. JO MARIE ACER ACERO, 20: “Nahilak ko,” (I cried) when I saw the victims of Sendong. My first task here was to give emotional support. I talked to them, and I also cry with them. By listening to their stories, somehow, I lifted up their weary soul. I understand, now, the feeling of there’s someone listening to you even though the person is not saying a thing. It’s very relieving and very comforting for them, specially when you just hold their hands or embrace them when they are crying. From then on, I realized how my family and I were so blessed by God. So, in my gratitude, I return to God His blessings to us by serving others.

Doing this mission reminds me of my younger years. Girl Scouting has been so helpful to my personal development and has inculcated in my young mind the value of helping others. As a Scout, I have a duty to God, to myself, and to others. From Girl Scout organization, I learned the basics of first aiding. Perhaps, that experience has influenced me in choosing my course when I went to college. Now, as a licensed nurse, I understand now that this profession is also a vocation. We serve others, and we do it with love.

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MR. LOUIE JOHN AGOS, 21: The moment I served my sick brothers and sisters, I realized that I have grown-up to a mature person. There’s  a feeling of ‘leveling-up.’ Before, I am just focusing only to myself and to my family; but now, my horizon is widen by my ‘harnessed sense of service’ to others.

Spirituality-wise, I developed a good relationship with the Church. Moreover, I found out that most Church peoples were nice and very easy to work with. I had a chance to know our parish priest. My monthly commitment enable me to know more about the Church. The entire experience taught me how to become an effective public servant.

About the Church, I realized that the Church knows how to work with individual persons and with teams so even in times of calamities, like in time of typhoon Sendong, the Church organizes missions like this so easily and systematically.  As a volunteer, I had a very good chance to share my skills that I learned from my beloved Alma Mater, Liceo.

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MR. APRIL JOEL M. LAMELA, 21: It all started with an invitation from the Liceo’s Student Body Organization. Students, like us, were called to respond during the typhoon Sendong tragedy. I just went in; I don’t know how to help them. I don’t know what to do. I just started asking until I realized that I’ve been talking already to the parents who lose their children because of the flood. Then I started to listen and that’s it… I was connected. I remember, while I was treating their wounds, I was also giving advises and that was so fulfilling—healing hands and consoling words working together. At least, through that encounter, I alleviated some of their pains.

I am praying that more health professionals, like us, would also spend time and skills to volunteer in the Pastoral Care for the Sick program of Santuario Eucaristico. It’s a sad thing to hear that health professionals, like us nurses, have only a small opportunity to work here in our country. But most of us, even though, many work abroad, still wanted to serve our motherland.

MS CHRISTINE JANE A. AGOS, 22: I think what we are doing here becomes an eye-opener to others. More volunteers come in and the local government already acknowledges our efforts. Private sectors like The Philippine Red Cross is already working with the Parish every time we conduct blood-letting programs; government employees, like a battalion in the Philippine Army, already signed a memorandum of agreement to help our parish in times of emergencies; and of course, our school, Liceo, who first call us to serve, encourages students, like us, to transcend our capacities to be a servant to others without any cost.

After the typhoon Sendong tragedy, there were many changes already. People here become more aware and more sensitive to climate change. After those years and up to now, people are still traumatic about the bad experience. Life has changed ever since. It is only now that we are starting to accept the painful truth of the past. Mindanao commemorates it by erecting a Sendong Memorial. We, as Cagay-anons, value our deceased brothers and sisters, and we don’t want to forget them so we acknowledge them in our prayers. As we move on with our lives, the government founded in El Salvador a PAG-ASA observatory center to monitor the atmospheric conditions here in Mindanao. As of now, the local government of Cagayan de Oro City is planning to have its own version of  ‘911’ emergency responding unit. I hope that we would preserve our developed social awareness and sensitivity since we are talking of countless innocent  lives here who are helpless in times of crisis.

It’s so nice that we start our mission with a Mass for the Sick because after that, as you can see, we start to become so busy.  Our consolation are the  meryenda (snacks) sent by many of our anonymous donors. Most of the time, because of our dedication to our mission, only after we served the last patient, then, we have our lunch together where we mingle and talk about our new experiences. As we close the day, of course, we end it with a group prayer.

THE MONTHLY FREE MEDICO-DENTAL  CLINIC

After the Mass, the free clinic, which is the physical care for the sick, started to operate. Patients were asked to fall in line. They were asked one-by-one to register by writing down their complete name and address—they will be given a call-card, this will serve as their record and would serve them for their follow-ups. To complete the information in the call-card,  the volunteers would help them to fill their basic medical info. It is per station. One station is for the record with Wilma, our parish secretary; then, the measuring of height and weight with the tall Louie John; then blood pressure checking with April Joel; and consultation and dispensing of medicines with Demlyn, Jo Marie and Christine Jane. (Of course, there were more unmentioned people behind the scenes who render their charitable service which I failed to get one by one).

Free Medical Clinic

Among the patients, I asked the old and slow walking Mrs.Narisa Saromines, 63, who was suffering from severe coughing and high blood pressure. “I want to be advised that’s why I went here. I have this bad feeling for almost a month now but don’t have money to go to any hospital.”

I asked the mother of John Roy Malaya, a 4 year old child suffering asthma, “We’ve been regular patients here. My son has asthma and the parish helps us with his medication. I am so thankful that there are so many generous people who have good hearts to look over us.  The volunteer-nurses were so kind to give me advises regarding the condition of my son. I am always praying to God that He would bless them more.”

Another one who I found standing, Jason, was suffering from his aching ear. He can’t hear me well so I brought him to Wilma, our parish secretary, to start filling his records.

FR. JOEL, SSS—ON MISSION AND STEWARDSHIP

Fr. Joel, in one of my personal-casual conversations with him, “a mission like this is a way of making our Parish Church, the Santuario Eucaristico, fully alive and fully relevant to the lives of our own people. It is true that most of our parishioners are in need so we are reaching-out for them. But, we are not doing this alone because we also share our social responsibility with our parishioners who also have big and kind hearts who are always willing to help us. Most of them who heed the Shrine’s call share their time, talents and resources generously with the Shrine. With this, our parish provides a meaningful and concrete mission that really touches hearts; and really changes lives. We are all involve in this mission because we are all stewards of God. He has provided us with so many blessings to be shared in our personal lives. We share these gifts from God because there’s a dire need coming from our poor brothers and sisters. We share because we are brothers and sisters to one another and we know that we should be concern about one another.”


THE MASS—Making the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist Always Fresh and Relevant

The Holy Mass calls us to action… it is what we heard in the Liturgy of the Word. Jesus Christ always commissions us to evangelize and to heal the sick. Prayer would be less meaningful without actions, and our acts of charity, our works, are the fruits of our prayers. In that way, our ordinary work become an extra-ordinary one because we do it with love and compassion, we do it with self-giving… we do it with self-sacrifice.

Jesus Christ gives His entire self in the Holy Communion, thus, like Him, we are also called to give ourselves to others. This generous act of  giving of ourselves leads us to become charitable Christians… it transforms us to become a more compassionate and more loving Christians. This act of charity, of giving ourselves to others, is the fruit of what we heard and what we partake inside the Mass. We hear Jesus Christ, Himself, preaching about love; and we eat and drink His Holy Body and Precious Blood that is fully alive and fully-dynamic in the Holy Eucharist that we receive: “in the mass, we receive Jesus Christ; in everything we do as Christians, through our actions, we always give our Lord Jesus Christ.”

THE CALL OF POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis insists that our Church must help the poor. “If we step outside of ourselves, we will find poverty.” [1] He encourages us to reach out for the needy where ever they are. As Christians, we are always called by the Spirit of God to extend to the poor all our blessings that come from God.

AFTERWORDS

Generosity is a two-way act… the generosity of giving and the generosity of receiving. When we give generously, we empty ourselves so that the Lord could fill it with more blessings; and when we generously receive, we open our lives to the blessings coming from the Lord. For a person in need, those who ‘give cheerfully’ are blessings from God, they become an answered prayer to those who are in need.

Thus, generosity opens our heart into a loving relationship. Like the Trinity– God the Father; God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ; and God the Holy Spirit— like God, three-in-one, our relationship is centered on love because God is love Himself. We would realize that every relationship is dialogical… it is openess to communication and our responsiveness to one another. When we engage ourselves into a dialogue… we immerse ourselves into that wonderful relationship by giving our commitments. PCPII teaches us that no one among us in the Church who is so poor that he has nothing to give; and that no one who is so rich that he has nothing to need. Each of us compliments one another, and with these, we become a ‘loving-giver’ and a ‘loving-receiver’ to one another.

AN INVITATION

This medical mission is one of the many programs of Santuario Eucaristico. It would not be possible without the volunteers who work selflessly to serve our less fortunate brothers and sisters. We are always grateful to those who keep on sending their supports— through medicines, services, technical assistance, facilities and/or by giving us financial support.

In this humanitarian effort, we could do more if you would share to us your talent, time and/or resources. Together with our small contributions, we could make a big impact in changing our society.

We always include all of you in our prayers every time we celebrate the Holy Mass and when we adore Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. You are rest assured that we are in communion with you where ever you are when we do our mission.

Jesus Christ is the healer, and we, as His disciples partake in His healing ministry. Christ was wounded on the cross but has remained as our healer.

Like Jesus Christ, with our life’s brokenness and ‘woundedness,’ let us transcend so as to become generous Wounded-Healers of our suffering society.

Let us start touching lives and changing hearts today. Be with us in our Pastoral Care for the Sick. Support our mission.

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To know more about Br. Dennis, visit and follow his blog on: http://denmar1978.blogspot.com/2011/05/i-see-you.html.



[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/18/pope-church-must-help-the-poor_n_3299764.html. (Accessed, July 12,  2013).

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