One of the casualties of the pandemic is my regular offering of the sacrament of the sick to you folks. And given that a number of you—like me—have some marginal health issues, this is a serious oversight on my part. So, time to make amends.
This weekend, at the end of our Saturday and Sunday sessions, I want to make it available. It is not difficult. A prayer; a blessing; and an anointing. The anointing—as with the Confirmation rite a few weeks ago—will require that I use a separate, long-handled brush for each of you. And I have a lot of them in my artist’s supplies.
But the most important thing is that it be available, and readily available. And that is simple. At the end of the session each of you who wishes the sacrament can come up—one at a time—and with a dozen or so people in the church these days—that is simple. The prayer is two sentences; the blessing is one, really—with my hand raised over each of you at a distance; and then the 15-word anointing sentence and the anointing with the brush.
We have done this any number of times in the past years at the end of the Saturday and Sunday Masses. And from now on—with or without Masses—I want to do it once a month.
In crises like this it is also common for pastors to confer absolution periodically. As we say frequently, the sacraments are for the people of the church. In a community as tiny as ours the concern for staying ‘at a distance’ is not only possible—we know it as reality—more of a reality that many of us would prefer.
I have come up with a new rite for us here when we are celebrating Mass again—which will be soon. Different purpose, different method, more consciously focused. More on that next week.
I am back both to writing and painting again—the warm weather and wonderful flowers out on our patio certainly invite me it—along with the watering the heat requires.
So I want to get this off to our wonderful internet publicity people who keep us all tied together.