Greetings from the Holy Family Pastoral Care Ministry!
I am writing at a challenging time for all of us. Life seems very different from a couple of months ago. The coronavirus has impacted everyone, and our ministry, which supports our seniors, has been forced to make dramatic changes to the way we operate
It is our mission to bring the blessings of the Church to the elderly, the sick, and the dying in our community. We typically visit our people in their homes or in a medical facility. Since the ‘stay at home’ program, we have not been able to make in-person visits, especially since we serve the most vulnerable among us. We have had to make adjustments to our outreach.
Starting in March, we began a project to contact our registered parishioners between the ages 65 to 110 by telephone. The goal was to make sure that our elderly parishioners had basic supplies and access to resources as they began their quarantine. This was a big job, and we needed ‘all hands-on deck’. Cambria pulled together the Leadership Team and we got on the phones!
It has been gratifying to witness the generosity of our parishioners, as dozens of people volunteered to help. Our Priests, Mary Schimmoller, Haeya Kim, Marlene Moore and other staff members from the Parish and Holy Family School all stepped up and made significant contributions to our efforts.
First, we identified our seniors and grouped them by age. Then, we assigned each volunteer a list of approximately 20 people to call. The callers asked a series of questions to identify any immediate needs for food or supplies. Once we confirmed that the senior’s basic needs were covered, we offered our support in other ways – including weekly check-ins, referrals to local services, instructions for live-stream masses and prayer partners.
We have experienced many “God Moments” in the process of extending the caring hand of the church to our seniors. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. I spoke to one woman who told me that she has no living family, so she considers the parish community to be her family. The fact that we made the effort to proactively reach out to her at this time of crisis was very touching to her. I will always remember her gratitude as a blessing.
In our initial round of calls, we identified a core group of elderly parishioners who have ongoing needs and/or a desire to have us stay in touch. We have set up a program to accommodate this. As long as our elderly brothers and sisters remain in isolation, we will continue our ministry by “virtual” means. This is an adjustment for all of us, but we all understand the necessity.
I am truly blessed to be part of this extraordinary faith community, and to witness our generosity of spirit as we come together to support our most vulnerable members. I hope you will also find comfort in the fact the we are here for you in this challenging time.
Director of Pastoral Care Ministry