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Jan 20, 2019 | The 23rd Times

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Serving others in Christ

by: Deacon Francis Head, Helen Tuffy, RN and Paul Kielmeyer

This week in our discussion on the Covenant of St. John XXIII we focus on Serve. As our Covenant states, we as disciples of Jesus Christ and as a member of our parish, dedicate ourselves to serve by supporting the parish mission in generously giving of our time and talent and by participating in a ministry, committee, special event or charitable cause. Take a look at how we serve others through our Eucharistic Outreach Ministry.

One privilege we have as Catholics is to bring Jesus Christ to our people. We can do this through prayer, works of mercy, and most importantly by bringing the Body of Christ to those who are unable to come to Mass. We accomplish this Eucharistic Outreach in our area by serving Gulf Coast Hospital, the homebound, and our senior living communities.


Serving at Gulf Coast Hospital:

Our Gulf Coast Hospital volunteers make daily visits to pray with, and give the Body of Christ to Catholic patients. Last year our teams visited almost 17,000 patients! The Gulf Coast Medical Center currently has capacity of 340 beds and in the fall of 2020 that will increase to 540 beds.

One of our Eucharistic Ministers and Leads at the Hospital, Paul Kielmeyer, would like to share what he experienced: “One Sunday after Mass, I was stopped by a parishioner. He said that I probably would not remember him, but two years earlier, I gave him Communion when he was in the hospital. He told me that it was a particularly trying time for him as he faced several medical conditions. He said that it was my visit with him that reinforced his faith in God and led to a successful outcome. He said, “Thank you again!” Being a positive influence for people is the best reward. Serving others is what we are called to do.

At the parish office, we recently received the following from a patient at the hospital. “I would like to express my thanks for the care that your parish community showed when I was a patient in a Fort Myers Hospital a couple of weeks ago. Two members of the parish came with Holy Communion, and a priest anointed me. (We discovered that we had a priest acquaintance in common, so the world really is small.) I was very impressed by this encounter with St. John XXIII parish!”

Serving in our Homebound Ministry:

The Homebound Ministry realizes that the spiritual needs of our parishioners do not stop once they are no longer able to attend Mass. Whether our parishioner is experiencing a disability or unable to come to Mass for a short period of time, we have a ministry that reaches out to them to serve.

Per Helen Tuffy, we provide time for prayers and bring the homebound the Eucharist. In some case we may be the only people they see week-to-week. Our ministers may also identify other needs the homebound person may have and we can further help by sharing those needs with our Parish Nurses and other agencies when applicable.

Serving in our Senior Living Communities:

Our ministry to our senior living communities is responsible for bringing the Eucharist to Cypress Point, Manor Care, and American House facilities. We bring the Eucharist to senior care and memory care homes. This ministry is growing and in addition to these communities, there are several more currently being built within our church boundaries.

Deacon Francis Head, who leads our ministries at the senior living facilities, recently shared the following: “This ministry has given me so much. My parents and grandparents are all deceased, yet through this ministry I have experienced the love and wisdom our seniors offer. It is amazing that by making the effort to serve others, they are actually ministering to me. I receive such satisfaction from bringing the Eucharist to our parish family who is unable to travel to the church.”

The Ministries of Eucharistic Outreach help these vital members of our parish continue to participate in parish life even though they are unable to travel. It is through this work that we can serve “the least of these” as Jesus taught us.

Each of these ministries is a growing area and we ask you to join us. No matter how much time you have available, we can use your help in this rewarding ministry. Please contact the parish office at (239) 561-2245 for more information.