The St. Raphael Ministry is a perfect example of what it means to serve as a disciple of Christ by living out a stewardship spirituality.
Inspired by the patron of the ministry, St. Raphael the Archangel, the ministry members visit and minister to the sick, the homebound, and those who are in need of healing — both physically and spiritually.
Deacon Dick Brown, who leads the ministry, notes that it goes beyond the walls of our parish to bring Christ to others.
“We assist those who are homebound, in hospice, living in assisted living homes or have been admitted to the hospital,” Deacon Brown says. “These people have been faithful Catholics their whole lives and have often been parishioners of St. Patrick’s for decades. Now they find themselves in a situation where they can no longer come to Mass and Church. It is our responsibility to not forget them.
“We must bring St. Patrick’s to them,” he adds.
And that is exactly what the volunteers of the St. Raphael Ministry do.
When someone is no longer able to go to Church or is in the hospital for a temporary time, the ministry team springs into action to bring the sacraments to them. Most often, this takes the form of bringing Christ in the Eucharist so that these Catholics can receive our Lord in His Body and Blood.
The ministry is an ongoing corporal and spiritual work of mercy.
“When we are notified that someone is now homebound or in assisted living, hospice, or the hospital, myself or another clergyman makes an initial visit to pray with them and assess their needs,” Deacon Brown says. “Then we assign a volunteer to that person to take them the Blessed Sacrament, arrange other sacraments like Confession and the Anointing of the Sick, and pray with them on a regular basis.”
“The volunteers are truly doing what God calls us to do — to love one another,” he adds. “They are being stewards by directly offering their time and talent to bring Christ to others.”
Last year, the ministry served 50 people who had temporary needs and are now back to attending Mass physically. Currently, they are serving 21 people who are homebound, in assisted living, or temporarily in the hospital. They are also ministering to five who are in hospice.
“The people being served are absolutely awestruck that someone from St. Patrick’s is visiting and bringing the sacraments to them,” Deacon Brown says. “They are tremendously appreciative and enjoy the company.”
One of the branches of the St. Raphael Ministry that had to be temporarily shut down was the carpool ministry, which provided transportation to Mass for those who needed it. Deacon Brown is hopeful to start this service back up soon.
The most important aspect of the success of the ministry is that people who are in need or have loved ones in these homebound situations notify the parish. Informing the St. Raphael Ministry that you or a family member would like to be ministered to is as easy as calling the parish office.
Please call 719-598-3595 to get more information or to request visits from the ministry.