According to Catholic tradition, pastoral care for the sick and infirm, the dying and the grieving, is one of the most significant ways that members of the Body of Christ continues the ministry and mission of Jesus. Pastoral care is considered to be the responsibility of all the baptized. Here are a few of the ways in which members of the Body of Christ at St. John the Baptist provide this support.
Mission BeFriender Ministry educates, forms and supports women and men as leaders for a listening ministry of care. Based on a model of mutuality, this national and ecumenical ministry heals hearts, energizes community, and transforms a suffering world. Everyone, at times, is on a difficult journey and needs a caring companion who will listen, empathize, and be reminded that they are a member of a caring faith community. BeFrienders provide care through a listening presence to parishioners experiencing grief, loss, transition, or other concerns including: abuse, addiction, care giving, chronic or terminal illness, death of a loved one, depression, divorce, financial concerns, homebound, job loss/career change, parenting challenges, and relocation. BeFriender Ministers also bring communion to the homebound. If you, or someone you know, would appreciate a visit from someone of the BeFriender ministry, please contact Maureen Burns.
The Eucharist is the source and summit of our Catholic faith. We believe it is important to make the Eucharist available to those who are not able to come to church. Distribution of the Eucharist to those at home, in the hospital or in nursing homes is available through our parish BeFrienders volunteers.
The loss of a loved one can be a difficult and overwhelming challenge. The Southwest Grief Coalition works to provide support and education for those who are grieving. All who have experienced loss are invited to attend. The grief support series is conducted three times a year for six consecutive weeks. Each session starts with a gathering time including a light supper. Every week a speaker presents a topic to help participants understand the bereavement process. Participants then have the opportunity to meet in small groups to share concerns and feelings following the speaker. Small groups are facilitated by those who are trained in the grief process and group dynamics. Many have experienced the death of a loved one. The Bible makes it clear that our grief is relieved by the hope and promise of the resurrection, but also by the community we enjoy with others. All are welcome.
St. John’s volunteers knit and crochet prayer shawls for those who are ill or suffering a loss or other hardship. These shawls provide warmth, but more importantly, bring spiritual comfort to the recipients as they are made with dedicated prayers, transmitting God’s love through the work of human hands. For information about how to get involved in the Prayer Shawl Ministry, or if you know someone who would be comforted by receiving a shawl or lap robe soaked in prayers of healing and comfort, please contact the parish office.
"By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priests the whole Church commends those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord, that he may raise them up and save them. And indeed she exhorts them to contribute to the good of the People of God by freely uniting themselves to the Passion and death of Christ." (The Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1499) St. John the Baptist offers the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick several times a year. This Sacrament is offered to all of those suffering from serious physical illness, to the elderly burdened with infirmities of age, and to anyone about to undergo major surgery. No longer limited to those near danger of death, this Sacrament, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, helps a sick person to resist temptation, ease anxieties, and strengthen faith in God's power. Those receiving the Sacrament also find comfort in the communal prayer and personal presence of all parishioners who attend this celebration. The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is announced in our weekly bulletin as the date approaches. If you are interested in finding out when the next is scheduled, please contact the Parish Office
The Christian meaning of death is revealed in the light of the Paschal mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ in whom resides our only hope. The Christian who dies in Christ Jesus is "away from the body and at home with the Lord."183
For the Christian the day of death inaugurates, at the end of his sacramental life, the fulfillment of his new birth begun at Baptism, the definitive "conformity" to "the image of the Son" conferred by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and participation in the feast of the Kingdom which was anticipated in the Eucharist- even if final purifications are still necessary for him in order to be clothed with the nuptial garment. (The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1681-1682) St. John the Baptist celebrates the mystery of our Salvation through Jesus Christ in the Mass of Christian Burial. If you wish to plan the funeral of a loved one here at St. John's, please contact Christy Theis at the parish office.
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