By Louise Barrett
I am part of St. Raphael's Nursing Home ministry along with Greg Langston, Linda Champion, Bill and Karen Muhlstadt, Angela Soucy, Mary Baecher, Maggie Moren, Joan Priest, Chris Winstead, Rose York, and Mary Wilson.
Our ministry members visit Shore Acres Rehabilitation and Health Center each Sunday. In addition to our weekly Sunday visits, on the third Wednesday of every month, one of our priests from St. Raphael celebrates a Mass right at Shore Acres for residents who able to participate.
After Mass, our priest does individual room visits for those who are too weak to attend Mass.
Residents receive Holy Eucharist, confession, Sacrament of the Sick, prayers, and holy objects like prayer cards and rosaries when requested. We have seen many Catholics who had fallen away from the faith who return to a full sacramental life.
We have witnessed the baptisms of some residents. The residents become part of our St. Raphael family. Whenever asked, we pray with our Protestant brethren in the power of the Holy Spirit.
In a recent survey about the positive benefits of Shore Acres nursing home, one of the residents listed our Nursing Home ministry as a highlight of his experience there!
Over the years, this ministry has touched the lives of many amazing people who find themselves at Shore Acres because they need round the clock nursing care for various reasons.
Many come for a time and then return home. Some are young, needing rehab. Some are terminally ill. For some, Shore Acres will be their final home for several years until their death.
These residents are dear to us and we look forward to our visits with them.
I have been in the ministry since August 1999. I have met hundreds of residents during that time. I have held their hands and watched them get better, and I have held their hands and been at their side as they died. As we minister to the residents, they minister to us.
This is an incredibly rewarding ministry and you are welcome to join us. We train you on the job and take you through the steps needed to become a volunteer.
If you're interested: Please call Louise Barrett at (727) 821-2561.
Please view two slide shows below showing Father Dominic and Father Tim celebrating Masses at Shore Acres Rehabilitation and Health Center.
Photos by Jane Winstead