This week, I wanted to provide an update on the development of some of our parish’s ministry to the elderly, particularly those who are living in nearby common residences. These common residences are either nursing homes or assisted living homes. They are: Dakota House, Seine River Retirement Residence, Vista Park Lodge, and Golden Links Lodge. For the first couple of years, my relationship with these facilities was rather minimal, on an as-needed basis, due to the pandemic. However, as things have developed, they wanted to re-establish the connection with our parish for pastoral care. As a parish, we’ve had a long relationship with these facilities for pastoral care and ministry not only because they are close in proximity but also because some of the residents also belonged and were part of our parish family at St. Timothy.
Since this year now, I’ve been in all of the facilities to celebrate Mass in the community at least a couple of times or more, depending on the location. Currently, my plan and hope is to be able to visit each community once a week, and this has mostly been met since the summer. I will be visiting a community on Wednesday morning for Mass each week, around 10:30 a.m. after our parish weekday Mass, but alternating the location so that each is able to have Mass once a month. All of this depends, of course, on my availability to go on those days which can be changed due to a funeral arrangement or illness or some other event beyond my control.
I’m currently scheduled to visit Golden Links on the first Wednesday of the month, Seine River on the second Wednesday of the month, and Vista Park on the third Wednesday of the month. I’ve been struggling to find an opportunity with my schedule to visit Dakota House on a similar regular basis as their available days don’t work with my schedule, and my preferred days don’t seem to work with theirs. But I’ve visited the community a few times now, and plan to do so when it works on a less regular basis in the meantime. The good news for the residents though is that they seem to enjoy meeting regularly on Sunday mornings to pray with a televised Mass and we do have some generous volunteers who bring the Eucharist and join them so they can also receive Holy Communion, which has been happening for quite some time now. And I have a couple of very helpful parishioners who join me in celebrating the weekly Mass in the other communities to interact with the residents and assist me with all that Mass entails. In addition, we have Maria on parish staff who visits individuals to pray with and bring the Eucharist almost weekly who are homebound and unable to attend Mass.
So I hope this bulletin message is produces the twofold effect of encouraging us by knowing that we have a regular and active role in pastoral service to the elderly who aren’t able to come to our Sunday liturgies, and also challenges us to consider in what other ways can we grow and increase our presence and compassion to them. Let us know if you have a family or friend in these places or could use a visit, and let us know if you think God may be calling you to extend a caring hand to them by offering your time and support.
God’s mercy is from age to age.
Fr. Brian Trueman