Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Servants of the Sick program reaches out to ill and homebound; program active in Colville, Kettle Falls, Republic and Curlew
by Jamie Henneman, for the Inland Register
(From the April 17, 2014 edition of the Inland Register)
In every parish, there are ill or elderly residents who cannot attend Mass regularly due to health considerations or transportation issues.
In order to ensure these parishioners are not forgotten, the Servants of the Sick program in Northern Stevens and Ferry Counties is a network of parish volunteers who visit parishioners in their homes, in the hospital and in residential care. Given the rural scope of parishes like Colville, Kettle Falls, Republic and the Curlew mission, volunteers often drive many miles to bring Communion to the sick and homebound, creating a needed link to the parish family.
Most Servants of the Sick volunteers have received training as Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Communion (EMHC) and can offer Communion to those Catholics they visit on behalf of the parish. Volunteers visit on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, delivering not only Communion but also the chance to visit and socialize with a fellow parishioner.
The Colville Servants of the Sick ministry was started under the guidance of Father Darrin Connall over 10 years ago during his tenure as pastor of the parishes in Colville, Kettle Falls, and Northport. The priest said he was inspired by St. Camillus de Lellis, a 14th century saint who founded his own congregation, Ministers of the Sick, that was dedicated to the care of the ill. St. Camillus is also considered a patron saint of the sick.
“We founded the Servants of the Sick based on the Ministers of the Sick founded by Saint Camillus. The goal was to help care for the sick and dying by bringing them the presence of Christ,” Father Connall said. “There are always people who can’t go to Mass, so we must go to them.”
The Colville Servants of the Sick group serves parishioners at Buena Vista Nursing home, Pinewood Terrace Nursing Home, Parkview Assisted Living and homebound parishioners in Kettle Falls and Colville.
The Republic group visits the homebound, those in the hospital and the jail. Curlew volunteers reach out to homebound parishioners in and around Curlew.
(Henneman is office manager of Immaculate Conception Parish, Colville.)
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