Sunday ALF Ministry - What's Happening?
12 Communions, but only had six at the Communion Service this morning; Many of the "regulars" are too ill to get out of bed and a couple appear to be nearing the end - barely able to open their eyes. Three expressed sincere gratitude that I came with prayers and Communion. It was very heartening to relate to them Jesus promises them everlasting life in heaven to those who love God and their neighbor.
A few were simply "too tired" to attend and asked that I bring Communion to them in their rooms. Maybe I should get tougher with them, but I have the time. I'm going to ask the nurses/attendants to try harder to get them to come to the dining room, so we can read scripture and pray together.
My Sunday ALF Ministry has grown to four sites, plus two ALFs that I visit on Wednesdays. They are (# of Hosts in parentheses):
1. Magnolia Manor: every Sunday (13, including 4-5 room visits)
2. Brookdale @ Northdale: every Sunday (15, including 4 in Reminisce wing)
3. Manor Care: 2nd Sunday (7)
4. Arden Court: 3rd Sunday (5)
5. Brighton Gardens - Sunrise: Wednesdays (12, including 6 in Alzheimer's wing)
6. Idelwild ALF: Wednesdays (4)
Nettie Martin died, August 6, 2016. Nettie was one of my original group, who I met when I presented her with a small pumpkin from the Saint Timothy's pumpkin-patch in 2014. She was a kind and gentle woman who treasured her relationship to God. One of her Brookdale-neighbors gave a beautiful eulogy. We prayed for her soul at Sunday's (8/7/16) Communion Service.
Everyone wanted to know about my 2-week cruise to the Baltic countries and what was my favorite country. I told them that I, as promised, had brought them a "present". It was from a Franciscan Monastery, in Lithuania. A "brother", who has dedicated his life to serving Christ according to the vows of his order, guided our tour group and offered us a blessing that we could take home with us and pass on to our loved ones. I passed the Brother's blessing on to them and told them this was the best present I could think of. I showed them a photograph of the brother and me.
I also told them about how invaders in the 18th century had murdered twenty refugees who sought asylum in the church. The refugees retreated to a small room in the basement of the monastery. The invaders bricked-up the doorway; the refugees suffocated and died. It was 25 years later before their bodies were found.
We prayed for the souls of these martyrs.
Magnolia Manor residents gave me a hard time because I was "at the beach" for the July 4th weekend; they said they didn't know I was gone, but wanted me to tell them all about it. I told them Father Malley was taking a 3-month sebatical and we said a prayer for him.
I visited the "reminisce (Alzheimer's) unit at Brookdale and visited Cliff and Jim 's room because they usually cannot make it to the activity room where we have a 5-minute service. Jim, who has been there since I started almost 2 years ago, was gone; Cliff didn't know where. I gave Cliff communion. He grasped my arm and told me how grateful he is that 'people like me' come to visit him. Very touching.
The service to the Brookdale' ALF residents went smoothly and after the service was over, I told them a joke (about the man painting the ceiling of the chapel who decided to have fun with the lady praying the Rosary). We usually have 3 or 4 Protestants in attendance so I had prefaced the story about how some Protestants believe Catholics pray to Mary rather than praying to God. The story was well received and I believe, a good way to remind everyone we are Christians
I left my home at 7:00 AM (to attend 7:30 Mass) and was home by noon. I five hours I gave about 35 communions and blessings to another 15 Christians. 5 or 6 nurses-attendants normally listen in. In 5 hours, I touched the lives of more than 50 senior citizens, all of them God's children. This was a rewarding day.