A Note on Anointing of the Sick
and Hospital Visits
I would like to inform people about a sticky transitional situation that is going on right now that could affect your pastoral care. For a long time there has been a system whereby the parish would receive a daily fax informing us who the Catholics are that have been admitted to the hospital. I have never been admitted to the hospital myself, but it is my understanding that one of the questions a patient is asked is: ďWhat is your religious affiliation?Ē Thus, a patient is logged in as a Catholic or Lutheran or Jewish etc. We would then get a read-out of any potential parishioners sent to us, so that I or others from the parish can be sure to visit during their time in the hospital. Anyone who is admitted to the hospital is a good candidate to receive the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, which can only be done by a priest.
Over the last few months, there has been a transition at the hospital in terms of the record keeping system. Since then, we have not been able to get the daily fax. It is still a work in progress we are told. Thus, we are ďflying blindĒ in terms of any knowledge of who gets admitted. Sure, Kathy or I often hear things through the grapevine, but that is not a trustworthy system on which to depend. Thus, I am simply asking for help from all parishioners with notification of the parish office when someone you know or love is admitted to the hospital. Put another way; please never assume that I know about it. Sometimes people are not at Mass for a few Sundays and are then upset that they never got a visit from Fr. Robb or anyone from the parish while they were in the hospital. Itís never because no one cares. Itís because I or the office had no clue something bad was going on.
A lot of people go on vacations to see grandchildren, go south to Florida/Texas/Arizona for chunks of the winter, or are simply sick with the common cold for a weekend or two. Thus, I may notice that someone is not here on a given weekend, but I donít assume the worst. I donít assume anything. I donít know. But Iím simply asking for your help to make sure I do know when someone is in a distressing health situation. I certainly want to be there for you when times are the toughest and to make sure you have powerful graces of the sacraments available when they are most desperately needed! Thank You for your help.
May the Peace of Christ be with You always!