Saturday, December 01, 2007

Visiting the sick a Christian obligation

Lack of time and training no excuse

I am sure the letter “Take time to visit our ailing priests " by J.D. Lovrenciear (Herald November 4) touched the hearts of many of us. It is time as Christians we seriously consider his appeals to visit not only the ailing priests and others as well.

Our hearts were really troubled to read the response “Let not your hearts be troubled! "(Herald November 25) by Fr Marshall Fernandez , a priest whom I had so much admiration and respect since I was young. However I thank and congratulate him for taking some time off his busy schedule to personally comment on a very important issue of visiting the sick in our midst.

I deeply regret the reasons he gave as to why he could not visit his ailing fellow priests and parishioners i.e. lack of time and not trained in chaplaincy. To my mind these reasons are unacceptable.

Telling BECs to visit the sick priests is passing the responsibility to others. For every one ailing priest, there may be scores of others among the laity. How many BEC members have the time and training to visit and counsel these sick priests and members of our parish?

All of us, clergy and laity, have the moral obligation to visit the sick and dying and their families, to provide the support in whatever way we can. I think it would wrong for us to resort to all sorts of excuses to abdicate our responsibilities to those around us.

It is not whether we have time or training that matters here. What is important is the willingness to help others that comes from love in the heart. All the time and all the training in the world will be meaningless if there is no genuine love in the heart for fellow humans.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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