Learn more about the Pastoral Care Ministry

04-30-2023Weekly Reflection

The Pastoral Care Ministry is an outreach ministry of Saint Mary Magdalene Catholic Church that allows our lay Eucharistic Ministers to bring communion to the sick and homebound.

This is a great ministry that our faith provides which allows Catholics, unable to attend mass due to illness and mobility issues and who are properly dispensed, to receive our Lord at their home or care facility. We wanted to provide you with the testimonies of some of these lay Eucharistic Ministers of Holy Communion describing what their participation in this ministry means to them and how it has affected their own lives and the lives of those they serve. Enjoy.

The Pastoral Care ministry means to be able to bring the body of Christ to a very special individual and is a special privilege. I have done this for over 15 years and you meet some of the most beautiful and spiritual people. I have experienced a bonding friendship and spiritual bond as well. One funny story was the woman said she was quite a looker in her time and went around town in a red hot convertible. Another story she was moving from a plantation mansion to a three-bedroom, one-bath house and asked if this was the servants quarters. The reply was, "No this is your new home." I have enjoyed every moment being a minister to the homebound.
—Margaret Birchem

For the past nine years, bringing the Blessed Sacrament to the sick and homebound is a truly rewarding experience for me. It is difficult to find the words to explain all the feelings one goes through in this service. My mom was in an assisted living facility before she passed, and there was no program in place to the people in her facility for her to receive the Blessed Sacrament. This is the main reason for getting involved with this ministry. The reality is that these facilities are where people go for end-of-life in most cases. By virtue of our Baptism, we are anointed priest, prophet, and king just as Christ was anointed. The Pastoral Care Ministry is our way to fulfill our duties as kings and serve the people. It is also a great way to evangelize by praying the Rosary and reading Scripture, and just spending some time with residents assuring them that God will not abandon them. For me the ministry is both a sobering and rewarding experience. If you want to live your faith, please join our ministry. There are lots of people that cannot receive the Blessed Sacrament because we simply do not have enough ministers. Looking at myself in the mirror each day I feel good about myself, that I am living my faith. How do you feel?
—Ed Vinchinski

I have been in the Pastoral Care Ministry bringing Holy Communion to the Sick and Homebound for over 5 years. When I first decided to become a minister, I was unsure if I was worthy of participating in this ministry, and I was not confident in my ability to do it well and meet the needs of the sick and homebound. But through the training provided by the Pastoral Care office of Saint Mary Magdalene, I became confident and filled with joy that I would be able to connect our parish community with these individuals who cannot be at Mass with us. In bringing Holy Communion to the sick and homebound, the minister represents Christ and manifests faith and charity on behalf of the whole community. For the sick and homebound, the reception of Holy Communion is a sign of support and concern shown by the congregation of Saint Mary Magdalene. It unifies them with Christ and our congregation when they are unable to do so at Mass. Receiving the Eucharist is especially meaningful during times of weakness in body or mind. I have witnessed even those suffering from dementia suddenly perk up when we pray, and they sometimes even remember some of their prayers. The sense of peace that comes over those we bring Holy Communion to is proof that we are bringing Jesus to them. There is no greater privilege than this.
—Merrily Pearson

Long ago (40 years) in another parish in another diocese, I said yes to the call to Pastoral Care Ministry. The procedure in our parish at that time to surface people for ministry was for the parish staff to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit periodically at staff meetings. I was told my name had come up and it was explained to me that this was a package deal: church, homebound, and hospital/facility. I spoke with my family, prayed for guidance, and eventually said yes. Within 6 months of beginning this ministry, I had to have emergency surgery and my husband had life-saving cardiac bypass surgery bringing home to me the impact of this ministry. I have never regretted this decision to say yes. Presently, I minister with a team to the residents at Clearwater of Agritopia (formerly Generations). I am there every Sunday after 9 am mass with Communion. Also, on Tuesdays with my team, we offer residents scheduled prayer experiences such as rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, Stations of the Cross. Monthly from October through May, a priest offers mass on site. My motto has always been that “Christ has no hands but mine, no feet but mine…”. After prayer for discernment, I still say yes when ever I can. Our priests cannot do it alone. Together we can help free them for sacramental services that only they can do. Please consider saying yes to this call to Pastoral Care Ministry. The need is ever increasing in our parish. One poignant memory stands out in my mind. After being cut off from ministry at Generations for almost exactly a year, Fr. Chris and I were at Generations on Ash Wednesday. The residents cried as we ministered to them. I will never forget their faces. Please say yes!
—Paula Angilletta

I’ve been an Extra Ordinary Minister of Holy Communion for about 5 years. These people we service, whether hospitalized, homebound or in a facility, are cut off from attending Mass. For me, it has been an uplifting experience. It is an honor and a privilege to be able to carry and hold the Consecrated Host in my hands and present the Eucharist to them in a reverent service. We read the gospel and relate what Father said in his homily. We also pray and sing familiar religious songs together. I believe they "feel like they have attended Mass" and they leave at peace.
—Sharon Schavio