Adoration, special liturgy marks World Day of the Sick
Story and photos by David Martin
WEST SPRINGFIELD -- Parishioners and community members came to worship together and experience the healing spirit of Christ during a special Mass held on the World Day of the Sick.
This annual Mass is a deanery event and took place at St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish in West Springfield on Feb. 11, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini pastor, Father James W. Longe, said the World Day of the Sick was originated in 1992 by Pope John Paul II, who wanted to focus on those who were suffering in mind, body and soul.
“The whole goal was to help people realize that no one suffers alone. Yes, we suffer through Christ, but we also rejoice with Mary and with the saints, because when you suffer with Christ, you never suffer in vain,” said Father Longe.
More than 100 people attended the Mass, which began with an hour-long Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament that included special music and time for reflection and prayer. Eugene Murphy, a parishioner at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Holyoke, said he has a great devotion to the Holy Eucharist, since he is a eucharistic minister at his parish and at the Holyoke Soldier’s Home, where he heard about the deanery event.
Murphy said he wanted to take part in the evening of adoration in thanksgiving for the blessings for his wife and himself. Murphy, an honor guard for the Knights of Columbus Fairview Council 4044, said his wife had cancer three times and is currently in remission. He said in his involvement at the Holyoke Soldiers Home, he has the opportunity to share his compassion towards the sick and suffering and be charitable towards his neighbors. Murphy said he was hoping to receive many graces and blessings from the Sacred Heart and the Eucharist by attending the adoration and Mass.
Father Longe said during the Mass that suffering is "part of God’s divine plan because it purifies everyone and strengthens them for the journey forward."
Deacon Mike Hodges, of Holy Name Parish in Springfield, offered the homily. Deacon Hodges told the congregation when they listen to the Gospel and read Scripture over and over again, they will see the healing power of Jesus, "not just healing the diseased, but ... making people whole through the love and compassion he has for everyone on a personal basis, showing his love for each person individually."
He said in turn each person must also listen to God. He said prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue, and needs to be a two-way conversation.
“I am a very busy person and one of the challenges I find is that I need to take time in my day to sit quietly and listen to what God is trying to tell me. You need to be personally involved with God. Why? Because God loves you and because we have faith, a freely given gift of God, we are able to listen to God and get our healing on the way,” said Deacon Hodges.
After Mass people were called to the altar to be given the Sacrament of the Sick, in which deacons placed their hands on them to offer blessings and healing with holy oils. Later, those who remained in the church prayed the rosary.