Fr. Schuessler Letter 1-29-23

Dear Friends,

A few more words about The Anointing and Care of the Sick and Dying.

The Handbook of Indulgences tells us that if a priest cannot be present as a person is dying, and they haven’t previously received the apostolic pardon during that sickness, the Church “grants to the Christian faithful, who are duly disposed, a plenary indulgence to be acquired at the point of death, provided they are in the habit of reciting some prayers during their lifetime; in such a case, the Church supplies for the three conditions ordinarily required for a plenary indulgence.” In those situations, the Church also commends the devout use of a crucifix.

As mentioned in the Handbook of Indulgences, the usual requirements of prayer are substituted by having habitually said some prayer during one’s lifetime. This generous concession is because many people at the point of death are unable to recite any specific prayers.

We hope that no one dies alone, and that people who surround them at this sacred moment will accompany them with prayer. Prayer is comforting to them and to those around them. The Divine Mercy Chaplet is especially recommended. They say that comatose people can still hear… (Also be careful of what you might say in their presence that might be disconcerting to them.)

On another topic: I write this on February 23, the anniversary of Roe vs Wade: The Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.

Shamefully, Illinois has become a destination for mothers from states where abortion is illegal who want to abort their preborn child, and perversely that is held up as something we should be proud of. We need to pray for our legislators: state and national. Write and phone them and according to your ability participate in the pro-life activities proposed in our bulletin and in other events.

Yet another topic: February 2 is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also called Candlemas Day.  Traditionally candles are blessed before Mass. If you are able, bring candles to Mass either at 7:30 a.m. or 6:30 p.m. to be blessed for your devotional life at home. It is still most appropriate to have a small table/nightstand covered with a white cloth with a crucifix and 2 candles (unless oxygen is in use) to receive our Blessed Lord in the Blessed Sacrament when Holy Communion is brought to shut-ins.  I think that traditional formality shows what we truly believe about the Lord’s true and real presence in the Eucharist.

God bless you. 

Stay Well, Fr. Schuessler

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL