Bayda preaches at Saskatoon mass

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski

SASKATOON — The Gospel call to walk in love, service and compassion with the sick and suffering was highlighted during the ninth annual Compassionate Healers Mass.

Organized by the Catholic Health Association of Saskatchewan (CHAS), the Compassionate Healers Mass focuses on the Christian call to share in the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. It is an opportunity to pray with and for all those who work in health care — including medical personnel, spiritual care providers and ministry of care staff and volunteers in parishes and health care facilities, as well as family caregivers and medical and health care students.

Held Sept. 30 at St. Philip Neri Parish in Saskatoon, the eucharistic celebration included presider Bishop Donald Bolen of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, homilist Bishop Bryan Bayda of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon, St. Philip Neri pastor Rev. Emile April, Rev. Gerard Dewan, and Rev. Mick Fleming, CSsR.

In his homily, Bayda encouraged those gathered to pray for all caregivers — those who are professional and those who volunteer in many different capacities, including those caring for family members.

Bayda recalled his experiences in clinical pastoral care training and ministry, and the importance of supporting those providing care in stressful situations. He noted that medical personnel and caregivers also require pastoral care and faith support, describing a “Good Grief” program created in one setting for medical professionals struggling to deal with tough cases and the death of patients.

Citing Pope Francis’ apostolic letter, The Joy of the Gospel, Bayda urged caregivers not to lose their joy as “missionary disciples” and to remember the source of their ministry — Christian identity and convictions.

The Holy Father points out that by compartmentalizing faith, separating it from our day-to-day life and service, the mission of evangelization can easily be lost and our commitment weakened, he said. “We end up stifling the joy of evangelization,” described Bayda.

He pointed to the suffering of Christ, and how the night before he died he spoke of his joy. Facing the cross, Jesus finds joy in his relationship with the Father, Bayda related.

In spite of all challenges, discouragements, difficult situations, and struggles to live the gospel and continue the healing mission of Christ, Bayda urged health care providers to look for the joy. “Seek that human dimension” that will feed the spirit, finding refuge in meditation and prayer, he counseled. “In Christ, all things are possible.”

With symbols of medical care such as a sheet, a blood pressure cuff and chart on display before the altar, prayers were offered for the sick and suffering and all those who care for them.

Those present were then invited to come forward to commit themselves to go forth into the community to be the presence of Christ, before their hands were anointed with the oil of compassion blessed by the two bishops.

The Compassionate Healers Mass in Saskatoon was one of three such celebrations organized by CHAS across the province.

The Archdiocese of Regina Compassionate Healers Mass was held Oct. 1 at Holy Family Parish in Regina with Archbishop Daniel Bohan (see related article), and the Diocese of Prince Albert event will be held Oct. 19 at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Prince Albert, with Bishop Albert Thévenot presiding.

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