As you may know, our Parish Nursing Ministry has suffered some heavy blows these past 3 years: Dee Hanisch has recently passed and is no longer with us. Bea Gazett suffered a stroke last year. Judi Rassier (our Parish Nurse and Coordinator of volunteers) has also struggled with her own health problems these past 3 years. This past month I received in my office the final resignation of both Bea Gazett and Judy Rassier from their positions, so we are missing three out of our four parish nurses!
I do want to say, over the years, all three of these Parish Nurses have done a wonderful job at visiting the homebound, going to the hospital and keeping in general contact with those who are weak or ill. I want to thank you very much for your combined years of faithful service and dedication to Christ’s healing minister among us! I also want to thank the many volunteers who are still with us as part of overall healthcare and for your continued good work in visiting some of our elderly parishioners!
As of late, our last Parish Nurse, Marva Jorgensen, is also home bound with her own health issues. Although she is able to function in some limited capacity from her house, our Parish Nursing Ministry has a very limited effectiveness indeed. At this point is almost non-existent! They say, “God writes straight with crooked lines.” I am not sure where the Holy Spirit is leading us, but I do know that here at St. Peter and St. Paul, our Parish Nursing Ministry has been indispensable in providing me current information of those who are sick, those who are in nursing homes, those who are in the hospitals as well as coordinating our volunteer visitors who are helping our homebound maintain some contact with our parishes. Since this is such an important part of Christ’s ministry and our work, I feel we need to do something, something new, something different!
With all this history in mind I, as pastor, am initiating a whole new program which we will call, “St. Peter and St. Paul Pastoral Care Ministry.” This will be a combined care ministry of both parishes which will basically continue what our wonderful parish nurses have begun, and yet explore new avenues. To do this, I have asked Geralyn Nathe-Evans (our Faith Formation Director) and MaryDee Sandey to take up this portion of our staff in addition to what they are already doing. Both these women have an education and experience in nursing, so they have quite a few years of familiarity in this field. Geralyn Nathe Evans will take on the role as coordinator and MaryDee will be her main assistant here at our office.
At present, I have asked the two of them to gather all the information they can from our previous nurses and volunteers and then create something brand new in our Parish Pastoral Care. If you are one of the volunteers and they have not contacted you, please call Geralyn at our main office. Also, if you are interested in being involved in this ministry of care for the weak and ill, please call as well. We will no longer require some of the volunteers to have a nursing degree to do some of our hospital visits or provide some of the other information and care as in the past. We simply do not have that luxury. This, after all, should be about people caring for people on a very grass roots level! My hope is that in some way we will continue this all-important work of Christ!