Submitted by: Charles Shallcross
The priests on the COVID anointing team have been an inspiration during the pandemic. They have answered the call day and night, to drop everything and head out to give the final sacraments in COVID situations in hospitals, nursing homes, and home hospice. In many cases this has required them to juggle schedules and drive long distances to reach the faithful in all corners of the archdiocese. Often these anointings are cases of imminent death, where there is a very real urgency in responding, and these priests have been fantastic in their willingness to respond and make every effort to reach the patient in time.
The patients and their families have been tremendously appreciative of the efforts of these priests. In COVID situations where the local clergy is, for health and safety reasons, not able to visit the patient, the COVID team has stepped up to bring the sacraments to those in need, in end of life situations.
These priests have been an inspiration to me and to all the patients and families they have ministered to. They demonstrate a true spirit of love and charity, and this is especially important for people who are living through crisis and the threatened loss of life, of themselves or a loved one. When a patient takes a turn for the worst and the family asks for a priest and a priest will drop everything to be there for them, when ever and where ever, that is something they will always remember - that the Church stood by them at that moment. That's what these priests do.
I can think of no greater humanitarian service than the hands on, immediate, response to people in need which these priests have been doing over the past six months. They are truly acting in service to others, in extreme situations, and thereby showing the deepest levels of Christian love.
There have been about 30 priests doing this ministry, coming and going over the past six months as their roles and assignments have changed. They've all been great.