By Ken Rosenbaum
This past summer I experienced a major health challenge when surgery to remove a pancreatic tumor was successful, and one third of my pancreas and my spleen also were removed. The journey to recovery is ongoing.
This experience created a new and increased appreciation of my health, the joy of living and the love of family and friends — especially my church family. Good health is one of God’s blessings that in the past I took for granted. And until this event, I did not fully understand the power of prayer and the important role of my church family in my life.
For the past 20 years, my wife and I have attended the same church, St. Brigid; the same Mass (10:15 a.m.), and we sat in the same pew. The Sunday before being admitted to the hospital was an emotional and spiritual awakening. That Sunday, I was surrounded by my fellow parishioners before and after Mass, as they hugged me and told me many prayers were being said on my behalf. The pats on my shoulder at Communion time brought me to tears.
The parish also sent two prayer blankets during my hospitalization, and I received visits from caring priests, friends and family. The numerous phone calls, emails and get-well cards each conveyed the loving thoughts and prayers of so many fellow parishioners who were praying for my recovery.
I was discovering the blessing of the power of prayer first hand.
After being discharged from the hospital, I was unable to attend Mass on Sunday and thus watched the Mass of the Air. Sitting on my couch in pain and watching Mass on TV each Sunday gave me a renewed appreciation of this important ministry. It also reminded me to pray for the many folks who are home bound and are seldom, if ever, physically able to attend Mass at church.
I continued to ask God for the strength to deal with whatever health challenges I was to face and for my return to the celebration of the Eucharist at my church with my church family.
The return to St. Brigid was as emotional as the last Mass before surgery. Again my church family offered a warm and loving greeting, expressions of gratitude for my return and their continuing prayers for a full recovery.
I write this as a gentle reminder to all of us. Please remember to offer your prayers of gratitude for your good health. Please remember those who are suffering.
Please be aware that one of the greatest benefits of being Catholic is being a part of your “church family” who worships with you, loves you and prays for you.
Ken Rosenbaum is a member of St. Brigid Church.
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