September 10, 2017


Most priests visit their parishioners at hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabs, if possible. Of course, as our responsibilities change, it is sometimes difficult to make those personal visits (and traffic doesn’t help).

It’s always a privilege to offer those who are sick communion and the Sacrament of the Sick, as well. Many times, if there are family and friends visiting also, I offer them communion as well. I am happy to know that in many of these facilities there are wonderful Eucharistic Ministers who bring communion on a regular basis. What a grace-filled ministry that is. I am a firm believer in “holistic medicine” meaning that a patient needs, physical, emotional, and spiritual assistance when they are in this vulnerable position.

I realize there are some people who are very comfortable visiting hospitals while others are not so comfortable. I came across this paragraph recently that speaks from the patient’s perspective and I like it.

“We, the sick, are more than out bodies. We are persons with relationships that support our personhood. Visitors represent the connection that defines a patient outside the hospital.”

That is profound. Just a reminder that any person by himself or herself does not give a complete picture. When we observe them with family, friends, and their support system, we truly get the bigger picture. This opens up my mind and heart to a greater appreciation for someone I might never have met before. So from now on, I will be even more observant of what is going on at the bedside of every patient I visit. As the saying goes, “every picture tells a story.”

We may have no idea how important our presence can be in the life of others, especially when they are not feeling well and have to be cared for away from their home. Our presence is a reminder to all that no person is only the patient before us. Each person has a history and a story that includes so many different aspects of life.

How blessed am I to represent the spirituality and religion that plays a critical role in so many lives?

Enjoy Life!    
Fr. Ron Coyne


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