12 March 2009

Day of Prayer for Persons with Dementia: 19 March

El Greco, altarpiece, Capilla de San José, Toledo, 1597-99

Day of Prayer for Dementia 19 March 2009
Feast of St Joseph, Husband of Mary
Dementia affects 700,000 people in the United Kingdom

My friend Frances Molloy, the Project Manager of Pastoral Care Project , based in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, England, has emailed me about a Day of Prayer on 19 March, the Solemnity of St Joseph, Husband of Mary, for persons with dementia and those who take care of them.

Frances founded the Pastoral Care Project in 1995 because of her awareness of the unmet spiritual needs of the frail elderly and those with dementia-related illness.

I got to know her shortly after being assigned by the Columbans to Britain in 2000 and became involved with the Project, though to a limited degree. I was struck by Frances's deep awareness of the spiritual needs of those with various forms of dementia, needs that those taking care of them were often unaware of. I was also struck by her deep Catholic faith and genuine ecumenical spirit.

Frances wrote, I was thinking about it and where St Joseph fits in . . . of course he does . . . but how to people who don't relate to saints? I was reminded of when Joseph and Mary found that Jesus was missing . . . yes, he’s missing so much in our lives. But often people share with me, as I’m sure they have with you . . . the fear when a loved one with dementia has slipped out of the house, or moved out of sight when they go shopping, knowing that they won’t be able to find their way back. So Mary and Joseph know what it felt like when someone they loved was missing.

Then there is the missing a loved one . . . ‘If only they were here now I might be able to give them more help’ . . . the sense of missing them just because love makes us feel that way.

All this is the Lord’s work I know because it has come about like a tsunami of the spirit

Archbishop Vincent (Nichols) has given it his blessing. Mass will be celebrated in each parish. Each school will pray. And Churches Together in England will promote it on their website this weekend.

Dementia affects 700,000 people in the UK

Two of those 700,000 are John and Bonnie Suchet (sooSHAY). John is a former TV newsreader whose wife Bonnie was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, one of the most common forms of dementia. He spoke about this on TV on BBC Breakfast on 17 February. You can find a link to this on the website of the Alzheimer's society here.

Prayers for Day of Prayer for Dementia 19 March 2009

Prayer for Healthcare Professionals

Written by Reverend Canon Edward Pogmore, Chaplain Co-ordinator, The George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust and North Warwickshire Primary Care Trust.

O Lord we pray for all those whose work is dedicated to the assessment and
care of those who experience confusion and profound memory loss.
For all who work as Healthcare Professionals in everyday care and research
into the causes of Dementia of many kinds.
May they be strengthened in their work of service with individuals, families
and friends.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for the bereaved

The Joy of Your Comfort
‘Your sorrow will turn to Joy’ (John 16:20)

Columban Father Pat Sayles,
The Prayer Trust, Our Lady & St Benedict’s, Alcester Road, Wootton Wawen, Henley-in-Arden, B95 6BQ.

You promised your disciples
that our sorrows would turn to joy.
For you are alive, Lord!
You do not leave us orphans.
Come into my heart
with your consoling love;
Come into my life, dear Lord;
with the joy of your comfort.
that our loved ones,
lost to us in this life
can be found in your loving embrace!
May they love in your love;
May they know your eternal joy
and dwell in your peace. Amen.

A parish prayer

Fr Timothy Menezes, StThomas More, Coventry.

Father of all goodness,
your Son brought healing of mind and body
to show that your Kingdom is here.
In our hour of need, we look to you,
we seek to understand your purpose,
Through Joseph, the faithful and honourable husband of Mary,
you show us care and compassion in adversity,
you give us a model of generosity and care.
We pray for those whose lives we share
and who live with the knowledge of weakness,
whose memory now fades,
whose enjoyment of life’s story is changing.
Make us aware of the needs of others,
of the dignity of life at every stage,
of the collective memory that we own.
Bless those who care for the sick,
who share the journey.
Your Kingdom come,
Your will be done,
in Your good time.
We ask this through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

A prayer for schools

Healer of the sick,
we ask you to look to your world,
to the people you love.
Create in us a new mind,
so that we may sing your praises
remember your blessings,
and kneel before you in our time of need.
We pray for those whose lives we share
and who live with the knowledge of weakness,
whose memory now fades,
whose enjoyment of life’s story is changing.
We ask for understanding and hope,
that your Kingdom of Justice
will restore all that is lost,
and make us whole.
Be with those who help the sick,
a care often unrewarded,
and those – like St Joseph – who care for others,
a care beyond what is expected,
As you, Lord Jesus, gave sight to the blind,
gave speech where it was lost,
and drove out the power of evil,
give to those who suffer with illness of the mind
the peace that only you can give.

Here is the text of a poster, which I'm unable to reproduce here:

Dementia affects 700,000 people in the UK

Pray especially on 19th March
Pray sometime during the day.
Remember families who love dearly, and often find it difficult
to talk about the change dementia brings about.
Remember the professional services and care agencies.
Remember also the people whose loved ones died many years ago.
Some are finding it painful in coming to terms with their grief.
Grief often expressed in these words.
‘If my mother was living now I could care for her in a different way, and another familiar phrase voiced is ‘Did I love him enough? ‘

Pastoral Care Project. St Gerard’s, Father Hudson’s Campus Coventry Road Coleshill B46 3ED Tel: 01675 434035


Frances said...

Dear Fr Sean.
Being a missioner today is so different from when you set out a few years ago...yet the message is still the same...God's compassion and love.
Thank you dear friend and brother.

God bless and happy St Patrick's Day.Frances

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