A special time for shut-ins, seniors in retirement homes

By on December 1, 2007

I am priest-in-charge of the ministry to seniors in Prince Edward County, diocese of Ontario. There are 12 nursing and retirement homes, which we serve in various ways.

The three parishes in the county enthusiastically support this ministry.

The state of health of those to whom we minister varies greatly. We try to meet all their needs. Our regular monthly services continue through December. This means that even those who cannot venture out can enjoy the singing of carols and receive Holy Communion before Christmas.

For those who are able to go out, we have a Christmas service and a sit-down lunch at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Picton, Ont. A team of volunteers from the three parishes organize this service. Generous donations enable us to provide transportation, (including wheelchair transportation), many pots of poinsettias – which our guests can take home – and a delicious lunch. It is thrilling to see more than 30 volunteer drivers, servers, kitchen workers and a very large choir working together to make Christmas special for those who have given so much to society and who deserve to be especially loved and honoured.

Like many local groups our women’s Bible study group assists the nursing homes in ensuring that every resident receives a gift.

We have found over the years that it is us, who still have our health and are privileged to serve, who receive the greatest gift. There is no sight more moving than watching close to 150 people, many in wheelchairs, joyfully singing Christmas carols and smiling at everyone.

Dorothy Lancaster
Diocese of Ontario

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