Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Mass: Tuesday, 5th Week of Lent

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Friday, March 20, 2020

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Sunday Homily: Third Sunday of Lent

Friday, March 13, 2020

A Hygienic Practice When I Visit a Hospital or Nursing Home

When I visit a hospital or nursing home to give the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick to someone, I have some practices that some would think are overboard, but I think are correct.

When I arrive at the place, I usually take a pen and sign my name on the visitor register. Then, I rub hand sanitizer on my hands. Maybe the pen had some dangerous virus or whatever on it? I'm not taking any chances.

Arriving at the elevator, I hit the button, but not with my finger. I usually use part of my coat, or maybe I will use the edge of my prayer book. Who knows what germs are lurking on the button for the elevator? I'm not taking any chances.

When I visit a patient, I need to put my thumb into a little stock of holy oil, and then put a little oil at least on their forehead. It's part of the Sacramental ritual. If I anoint their hands too (it's optional), I do NOT dip my thumb back into the oil stock. I use what's left of the oil on my thumb and put it on their hands. Why do I not put my thumb back into the oil stock? Well, think. Obviously the patient is sick. Maybe they've been coughing for weeks. If I anoint their forehead, and then put my thumb back into the oil stock, maybe I'm introducing some nasty germ into the oil stock! Who knows what could start growing in there. I'm not taking any chances.

After seeing the patient, I then go to the nearest sink and wash my hands with soap and water very well. I do not want to the bring the sickness of one patient either to myself or to anyone else. Then I will carry out the same practice as I go to visit another patient. And on and on.

When I leave the hospital, I exit the same way I entered: Washing my hands with soap and water; not touching the elevator button directly; using the pen to sign the visitor register; using hand sanitizer again after touching the pen. Finally, when I enter my vehicle, I put my book away, and I use hand sanitizer one more time. I even rub some hand sanitizer on my prayer book. Who knows, maybe there is something nasty on my book? I'm not taking any chances.

I've been doing this hygienic practice for 15 years, and I do it automatically. I hope all priests do the same. And especially now, with the heightened concerns about the Coronavirus, it's even more important. This is NOT about being alarmist, or scared. It's about being smart, responsible, and charitable.