About three weeks ago, in prayer, I had this sense that I should bring the Eucharist to my local hospital for a procession. I had seen a few photos of bishops around the country blessing their Catholic hospitals. Despite Elmhurst Hospital not being affiliated with the Catholic Church, I began working on the plans to see if this would be possible. Many of our parishioners at Immaculate Conception in Elmhurst, where I am currently serving, are risking their lives as doctors, nurses, and techs at the hospital. It was a direct ministry for our parishioners and the entire hospital.
I worked with Mary Kay Lightner, the department coordinator for Spiritual Care Services, who is herself a faithful Catholic. When I presented her with the idea of having a Eucharistic procession with the Catholic clergy from the area to show our support and prayer, she loved it. However, it required great coordination on her part and the part of the hospital. Mary Kay began to work with the president of the hospital. Over the course of three weeks, everything came together very providentially.
In order to have the Eucharistic procession, the idea of inviting all of the faith denominations began to emerge. With the current safety regulations, the thought of a walking procession turned into a driving procession. However, Elmhurst Hospital is ideal for this due to the building’s panoramic windows. We decided to hold this “Parade of Blessings” on Wednesday, May 13th for a couple of reasons: Tuesday, May 12th ended the celebration of Nurses Week, so this would be a capstone to that week, and elective surgeries begin again at the hospital on Thursday, May 14th. Our contingent from Immaculate Conception was accompanied by nearly 15 different religious organizations and congregations from the Elmhurst area, all culminating in the Eucharist.
Seminarian Brian Geary (Joliet ’22) drove the vehicle as I displayed the Eucharist in the monstrance through the sunroof. He just recently finished his internship here at Immaculate Conception in Elmhurst and begins his Clinical Pastoral Education experience on Monday at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield.
Personally, it was a powerful experience from my side of the monstrance. Seeing the patients, doctors, nurses, chaplains–really the entire hospital–longing for the Lord, longing for a blessing, and being able to physically bring Jesus in the Eucharist to them, was an amazing and humbling grace. It is my hope and my prayer that they truly felt the Lord drawing near to them and that we, their clergy, are supporting them spiritually.
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