"God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."
(1 Jn 4:16)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

When a Priest Makes a Sick Call

I wish that I had known. Our pastor paid a sick-call to our house yesterday to give Holy Commuion to Catherine. Before he came, he called and asked me if I had ever been present for a sick-call and I answered in the affirmative, letting him know that I had been present when my mom was sick and given Holy Communion by priests.

After hanging up the phone, I began to worry. I thought, I don't remember how the sick table should be set up. I wondered do I cover the whole table with a white cloth or is a small white cloth all that is needed? I don't think that I have a white cloth to cover the whole table. Do we need a standing Crucifix? I hope not because one of the boys accidentally broke ours. Even if I had remembered, the administration of Holy Communion for a sick-call is different in the Tridentine Rite than in the Novus Ordo.

After Father left, Catherine made me aware of an old prayer book that we own. At the same time, she also brought my attention to several other old Catholic books that once belonged to my husband’s grandparents and other relatives. If I had known about a well-worn and well-used book, Catholic Practice at Church and at Home: The Parishioners Little Rule Book*, I would not have needed to worry.

So what does this book say about preparing the sick-room and sick-call visits?
III. Preparation of the Sick-Room.
"An important person is coming; prepare as for a human of importance." (penciled in note by John P. Bagan)
Have the sick-room in good order by the time the Priest arrives, perfectly clean and tidy. Have all unsightly objects removed, such as soiled linens, dishes and vessels used by the sick person. Let the articles that must remain, be perfectly clean and presentable.
Have clean linens and coverings put on the bed.
Have no dog, cat or other animal in the room or in the parts leading to it.
Have a small table with a clean white cover opposite the sick-bed or at some distance from it, so that it can be seen by the sick-person. (emphasis mine)
Do not place it right next to the bed at the head of it, if it can be avoided.
Have a chair immediately next to the bed at the sick person's head for the Priest, so that he may look toward the foot of the bed and not into the sick person's face when he hears the confession.
IV. Articles for the Sick-Room  
1. A small table or stand, at least two feet at the top, with a clean white cover. 
2. One Crucifix standing on the table or hanging directly over it for handing to the sick person to be kissed.  Do not have the holy-water font attached to it. (I need to buy another standing Crucifix.) 
3. Two pure wax candles, or one at least least, in suitable candlesticks. 
4. One small vase or glass of holy water (not Easter water) with a small sprig or brush for sprinkling. (Father brought holy water with him.) 
5. One small glass of fresh drinking water and spoon
6. One clean white cloth, napkin or small towel, as a Communion cloth…  Have nothing else but the above mentioned articles on the sick-room table... 
V. Administration of the Sacraments 
The following rules suppose the bringing of Holy Communion to the sick person. 
As soon as the Priest arrives at the house, let someone meet him at the door with a lighted candle, and having bent the knee before the Blessed Sacrament which he carries, lead him to the sick-room. 
Let none bid him the time of day or begin to speak to him, unless what is strictly necessary, and that in a low tone of voice. 
Let all others drop on their knees as soon as they meet the Priest, in whatever place they may be, and then follow him to the sick-room. 
All should remain kneeling in the sick-room or in the place adjoining it, as space will permit, whilst the Priest pronounces the blessing and sprinkles the room, and not retire until bidden by him, when he is about to hear the confession. 
Do not run away when the Priest comes; but let all endeavor to be present when he administers the rites of religion. Arrange your dress and put on a respectable appearance. Let no one be present in his shirt-sleeves, or with bare arms and the like. 
When the Priest has heard the confession of the sick person and gives the signal, all should re-enter the room and remain kneeling in devout prayer until the Priest has finished his ministrations. 
If at any time before the Priest administers Holy Communion, it is necessary to pass before the sick-room table, the knee must be bent before it as in passing before the altar in church.
If anyone is familiar with the Latin prayers, he should answer to them. 
Somebody should be ready to assist the Priest, especially during the anointing, to see that the ears, hands and feet of the sick person are uncovered and properly presented for the unctions. 
Whatever articles of devotion may be required for the sick-room, have the Priest bless them before he retires, such as an indulgenced crucifix for the sick person to hold, a pair of beads, the scapulars and the like.

The book goes on to say that those things with which the Priest has purified his fingers, must be thrown into the fire.

*The book has been republished (I don't know if it is a scan and reprint, or an actual republishing) and is available here. It is also available via Google Books here. It would be nice to see the book updated (if need be) and republished.  I have a lot to learn.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Planting Seeds

Several weeks ago, as I sat in the dentist office reading a book, I heard a lady say, "I thought he was old school." I looked up and she looked at me and repeated, "I thought he was old school." I responded, "Actually what he has written is just as pertinent today as it was when he wrote it." She stood up and walked over to me saying, "Really? I used to watch him on TV in the '50s. I didn't even know he wrote books."

"Yes, really." was my reply and I went on to share with her a little bit about the book. I also mentioned another book that he had written and the fact that our library system carries several of his works. Eventually, the woman wandered back to her chair, saying that she would have to see if the library carried any of his works as audio books.

As she finished talking, her husband began. He began by criticizing his wife for always wanting to use technology instead of actually reading. I responded to his criticisms with the last words that I had read before his wife engaged me in conversation, "There goes Philip Neri, except for the grace of God." Thus, our conversation began. 

Eventually, my children meandered into the waiting room and I was called to the counter to pay. As I was leaving, I said goodbye to the Christian couple. The man responded, "God bless you! I hope to find some of his books at the library." As I climbed into the car, I could not help but think, "You never know when God might plant and water a seed."

Victory Over ViceThank you, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen!
May God bless this couple!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Lord's Day or CYO's Day

When our children were three and under, we met a good Catholic family whose boys enjoyed playing sports, especially soccer and tennis. The boys' parents, Anne and Paul, made sure they were able to do so, signing them up to play on soccer teams and taking them to one of the local tennis courts to hit the ball with them. Anne would occasionally talk to me about her boys' teams and/or their games. One fall, as we were talking, she told me that she did not know whether or not her boys would be playing soccer in the same league because some of the games were scheduled on Sundays. She told me that she had told the coach and others in charge that her boys would not be able to play on the team if the game days weren't changed. Anne knew that it is not a sin to play sports on Sundays, but she also knew that God and Mass were priorities for her family and she did not want to have sports competing with their faith. I am thankful for her example.

Receiving a Trophy from Coach John (Boys & Girls Club)
When some of our children expressed a desire to play sports, we looked at CYO Athletics. However, when we learned that CYO often schedules its games on  Sundays in our Archdiocese, we had to stop and ask ourselves: "What would we be teaching our children if we were constantly changing when we went to Mass in order to accommodate a game? Would our children possibly learn that sports take priority over going to Mass?" We realized that our children could not participate in CYO sports for one simple reason: We will not juggle our Mass schedule in order to let our children play on CYO teams. Sundays are the Lord's Day, not CYO's Day.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

round button chicken

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

I intended to share these photos in May, but we have been busy.


Even though she doesn't like to look at the camera, I think that my little girl is pretty.


My tall, little boy was happy to go to the zoo with one of his best friends.


My husband and I found this photo, taken by Catherine, on the camera after a friend came to pick up her children. No need to say anything more...


I always like seeing the polar bears at the zoo.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Choristers Picnic

This year, my four oldest children enjoyed participating in our parish's choir classes which are taught by a very talented nun.

Since today was the last day of choir class, some of us headed to the park after choir and Mass to thank Sister.

The children enjoyed playing on the zip line with their friends and throwing the softball with their teacher.

They also liked playing on the merry go round.

My children are looking forward to singing with the parish choir on Pentecost Sunday and continuing to participate in choir during the summer. I am thrilled that they have such a wonderful teacher and that they are being given this opportunity.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Piano Recital

On May 22, Catherine participated in her spring piano recital. She played the Waltz in A Minor by Chopin. Upon finishing the piece, she and her sister played a duet of Edelweiss.

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