PRINCE ALBERT — “It’s those everyday acts of compassion and love that will slowly turn our world around. God wants all of us to be the instruments of his mercy in our world. That’s our challenge and mission as Christians,” said Rev. Maurice Fiolleau, vicar-general for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Prince Albert, as he gave his homily at the annual Compassionate Healer’s Mass here Sept. 12.
The Catholic Health Association of Saskatchewan (CHAS) states their mission on their website: to tend to the sick, suffering and dying “as though we were tending to Jesus himself.” They describe the annual mass as “a time to gather, celebrate with and commission those who work and volunteer in the provision of health care.” They are “strengthened in their vision to be a faith community sharing the healing ministry of Jesus.”
CHAS prays for and celebrates individuals with various roles within the health care field, including doctors, nurses, volunteers, chaplains, technicians, and support staff in hospitals, among others.
“All of you, and many more who serve in health care, I welcome and thank you for your response to God’s call to serve others in need. You certainly have a noble calling because in your work, you are representatives of Jesus’s signs of his compassion and apostles of his love. You are the healing presence of God. In what you do to bring care, comfort and healing; you are a sign of the kingdom that Jesus came to bring,” said Fiolleau.
Fiolleau cited Pope Francis, who believes that our culture has become a throwaway culture. Fiolleau believes the pope is telling us that the world we live in is increasingly becoming a culture that does not value human life.
He spoke of the current debate on end-of-life issues and how it affects the sick, the disabled and the elderly.
“We need to create a culture of compassion, mercy, care and concern. It’s up to us; we can make the difference. I pray that as you continue your ministry of care, you will trust in the Lord Jesus to bring new hope so that you can bring that hope to those you serve.”
After his homily, Fiolleau asked those involved in health care to stand as he gave a special blessing.
At the end of mass, Sandy Normand, Mission Education co-ordinator for CHAS, explained how their work brings education and opportunities for experiences for those involved in health care.
“Bringing the mission alive is our hope for those who are the hands and feet of Christ. The Compassionate Healer’s Mass gives people a chance to think about why they do what they do.”
CHAS’s 72nd annual provincial convention will be held October 19 - 20 in Prince Albert. This year’s theme, Inside Out: Spirituality & Quality in Health Care, illustrates Catholic health care’s mission to bring spirituality into medical facilities. Dr. Kenneth Pargament and Sister Mary Jean Ryan will be this year’s keynote speakers.