BRIDGEPORT—On February 11, Father Skip celebrated a beautiful Mass for World Day of Prayer for the Sick offering the Sacrament of the Sick to all in need. For the past six years, members of the Order of Malta and the Blessed Sacrament Church community have come together to pray, to heal and to build bonds of friendship through shared fellowship.
It is no coincidence that the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes sometimes falls on or near the World Day of Prayer for the Sick. Members from the Order of Malta have a deep devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes and make yearly pilgrimages with individuals seeking healings. During Mass, Lourdes water and hand-knotted rosaries were shared, prayer intension cards were collected to be hand-delivered to the Grotto in Lourdes France, the very site where Mary appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858.
It is beautiful to see people from Churches across the diocese come together at this Mass. We all worship but it is exciting to see the level of energy and enthusiasm at Blessed Sacrament Church when we do so together. The 11:30 am mass began with a procession of the children and youth attending the religious education programs earlier in the morning. The church was full and as soon as the youth entered the church and walked down the aisle you felt the energy and the joy. Young people give us hope! Smiles and greetings were shared. The Blessed Sacrament choir began to sing, and then the whole church began to sing. Father Skip gave a beautiful homily on the worth of all individuals especially the infirm and administered the Sacrament of the Sick. So many of us were in need and grateful. Following Communion, the choir sang from the soul, folks were clapping, swaying, rejoicing.
Father Skip invited everyone to a Jelly Roll Reception. This too is a tradition that follows Annual Spaghetti Dinner as the leftover “snowflake rolls” are smothered in butter and jelly for a special breakfast treat. Folks ate, socialized and told stories about their faith and their families. During the reception, two young ladies, Sabrina and Philomena, seniors at Kolbe Cathedral High School shared their experience on their recent summer pilgrimage to Lourdes. Both girls had life-changing experiences and want others to know what a special place Lourdes is and the messages Mary shared with Bernadette.
As one member from the Order of Malta stated “We take our intensions forward. We pray for our individual health, our community’s health, now with the threat of Coronavirus, world health. We also pray for numerous healings; that of our Catholic Church and that of our society. To do this with others is very powerful! We are grateful to Father Skip and the community for inviting us to join them in worship.”
Perhaps to summarize the day: may we all strive to celebrate the value in one another, especially the sick. May we strive to leave the comforts of our own parish community to reach out in fellowship to our brothers and sisters in nearby communities. Lent is nearly upon us!