Pastor’s Letter, January 14, Fr. Longenecker

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

You have heard me say, “The Church does today what Jesus did when he was here.” When he was here Jesus 1) taught the truth 2) took authority over evil 3) forgave sins 4) healed the sick.

These four actions are one of the marks of authenticity for a church. The Catholic Church teaches the truth through the proclamation and promulgation of Sacred Scripture and the historic Magisterium of the Church. She teaches the Truth through evangelization, preaching, Catholic education, as well as through the arts, culture, and literature.

The Catholic Church takes authority over evil through the blessing of people and objects, through the deliverance ministry (praying for people to be delivered from obsessions and influences of evil and through the ministry of exorcism (expelling evil spirits that have infested a victim’s mind and body)

The Catholic Church forgives sins through the sacraments of reconciliation, through the ordinary confession in an act of contrition and the Confiteor at Mass.

The Catholic Church heals the sick through the ordinary ministry of Catholic health and medical services, through prayer and the laying on of hands and through the sacrament of the anointing of the sick.

It is easy to see that these four ministries are interlocking. The proclamation of the Truth helps to stamp out evil, forgive sin and heal the sick. Likewise taking authority over evil involves the proclamation of the Truth and it forgives sins and heals the wounded.

The ministry of healing is often neglected in the active ministry of the church. Doctors and nurses do healing work and priests offer the sacrament of anointing the sick, however there is often insufficient opportunity for those who are sick to come to the priests to receive laying on of hands and prayers for healing. Many priests hesitate to offer this ministry for fear that they will do so and “nothing will happen.” This is to misunderstand the nature of the ministry. We invite the faithful to receive these prayers and we offer these prayers with them in faith—trusting in God’s providence that he will wonderfully provide the complete healing we need not just the physical healing we desire. That means the healing will sometimes mean the healing of relationships, the forgiveness of sins, the healing of memories or the healing of the mind and emotions.

In order to provide an opportunity for the faithful to receive this ministry we are incorporating this intention into the monthly first Saturday pro-life Mass at OLR. After this Mass at 9:30 am on the first Saturdays there will be a time for the faithful to receive healing prayers with one of the priests and a small team of laypeople. The first Pro-Life Mass with healing prayers will be Saturday, February 3. As it happens, this is also the memorial of St Blaise—a day when we will be offering the blessing of throats.

Your Pastor,

Fr. Longenecker