Ministries of Mercy - Visitation at 6363 9th Avenue North, Saint Petersburg, FL 33710 US - Ministries Serve the Elderly, Sick, and Homebound (Page 1)

Ministries Serve the Elderly, Sick, and Homebound (Page 1)

Peggy Scicchitano, volunteer from Our Lady Queen of Peace visitation ministry, pictured on the right, drives to Adele Theodore’s home each week to bring Holy Communion and pray with her. (pictured on the left)

Published: May 19, 2010

In 2006, Bishop Robert N. Lynch of the Diocese of St. Petersburg began the Ministries of Mercy initiative to support and foster parish ministries that serve the poor, suffering, and marginalized. The initiative focuses on five areas where the need is the greatest: food & clothing, shelter, life, visitation, and health. With the help of volunteers, the Ministries of Mercy are currently serving in various parishes and the following stories highlight three parishes serving the elderly through the visitation ministry.

Peggy Scicchitano, parishioner of Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church, has been visiting the sick and homebound through the visitation ministry for ten years. She recalls a time while working in a Catholic hospital requesting Communion from a priest while he was offering the Body and Blood of Christ to the patients. “The priest told me it was not my turn,” she says. “Not my turn, what do you mean not my turn, I asked; the priest then told me that because of the large number of patients requesting Communion, he had to developed a system to be able to see everyone since he was the only one available.” Peggy says she did receive Communion that day and that the experience helped her to see first hand the need for volunteers.

The visitation ministry at Our Lady Queen of Peace has 35 volunteers that visit the sick and homebound each week. They take Holy Communion and prayer to them. Sr. Philippa Synnott is the coordinator of the ministry and says that in a six month period, they’ve visited 3316 individuals in 2 hospitals, 8 nursing homes, 2 hospices, and in their homes. “Many of the individuals are grateful for our visits,” she says. “We are the ambassadors of Christ and a listening ear to them.”

Adele Theodore, an 87 year old woman who is homebound, is one of the individuals on Sr. Philippa’s visitation list. Each week, Peggy drives to her home to bring Holy Communion to her. During the visit, they pray the Our Father together, Peggy offers her a blessing in the name of the Blessed Mother, and then gives her the Body of Christ. Adele’s face glows as she receives Christ and says she is thrilled and happy to be able to do so. “Holy Communion is a grace that stays with me every day and helps me to keep going,” she says. “I love the Lord and if Peggy did not come, I would be heartbroken.”

After the visit, Peggy says she feels humbled to be able to bring Christ to Adele. “It’s overwhelming to think of what I’m doing,” she says. “Christ passes through me to get to her; it’s wonderful.”

l-r: Sr. Philippa Synnott, coordinator of the visitation ministry at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church, and Peggy Scicchitano, volunteer, visit the sick and homebound in hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, and in their homes.

Jim Biggers coordinates the Family Services Program at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in which twenty volunteers serve the needs of shut-ins, caregivers, and others unable to run errands each week.

Jim Biggers, coordinator of the Family Services Program at St. Michael the Archangel remembers a time when a sick, woman living in a mobile home called the parish to ask for help getting to the doctor. The program provided her with help and when she became bed ridden, Jim and other volunteers took her food and visited her.

Today, the program has twenty volunteers that continue to serve the needs of shut-ins, caregivers, and individuals unable to run errands each week. They take them shopping for necessities like groceries or prescriptions, give them rides to the doctor and dentist offices, and give caregivers a break by sitting with the elderly and entertaining them.

In addition, volunteers take calls from family members that live north who want to know how their relatives are doing. Afterwards, they visit the individuals to make sure their living situation is safe. “If we have concerns, we call the family and recommend that they visit their relative,” Jim says. “If there is no family, we get help for them.”

The program also takes in donated walkers, wheelchairs, bed rails, and medical supplies. They are then given to the elderly and to home care nurses that request them for people in need.

Click here to read page 2 of  "Ministries Serve the Elderly, Sick, and Homebound."


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