Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Our 1st visiting priest AND our 1st sick call

Hello Again – sorry to say we still have no internet access but I have discovered I can type a blog entry in WORD, then when I find a location with wireless internet access I can jump online and do a cut and paste into the blog without needing to be online to type the whole thing (necessity is the mother of invention). So let’s hope this works.

This past week introduced us to a few new things we hadn’t experienced yet.

First, this was our first weekend with a visiting priest from Nassau. Our guest flew in from Nassau on Saturday and, after dropping off his bags and settling in, we left for the first liturgy of the weekend at the US Navy AUTEC base. The weekend liturgy here is Saturday at 6PM and, depending upon what is going on at the base, attendance can range from just a few to a full chapel. AUTEC does underwater technology testing and if a Navy vendor is onsite to test new equipment the population of the base can skyrocket. This was not such a week so our 2nd Sunday of Advent service only had about 10 participants.

After service we returned to St. John’s (our home parish) and Ginni served up a batch of spaghetti and meatballs. It was over dinner that we learned a bit about Fr. Anselm. A native Bahamian, he joined the Benedictines and lives at a monastery in Indiana. His abbot, however, decided the monastery needed a nurse to serve the healthcare needs of the monks and so Fr. Anselm has been attending nursing school at Loyola in Chicago. While visiting friends and family on Nassau, he was asked if he would spend the weekend serving on the ‘family islands’ & it was our good fortune he was sent to us.

You can imagine how Ginni’s eyes lit up when he told us over dinner that, in addition to being a monk, he was a nurse attending Grad school in Chicago. The conversation soon shifted from liturgy and ministry in Nassau to Ginni’s experience with home-based healthcare compared to what Fr. Anselm has experienced in the monastery. I washed the dishes.

Sunday began with people arriving at 7:30, but even before that Fr. Anselm got a taste of family island life when we all got up and found there was no running water, the cable TV was off the air, and the telephone company generator was generating a dull hum from town. We still don’t know what happened over night but it was mid-morning before services were restored.

This weekend was also our first weekend for CCD registration so after the 8:30 liturgy Ginni took names and tried to referee the parents and children crowded around the table. With that done we were off to Cargill Creek and Fr. Anselm got a glimpse of rural Andros where the roads are flat and straight and there are no other cars for miles while mangrove swamps sprawl as far as you can see on both sides of the road.

At Christ the King in Cargill Creek we had a completely full church, followed once again by CCD Registration. This is the parish with children galore and the scene at the table was somewhat less than organized but we’re getting close to understanding what children go with what parents.
After getting back to St. John’s we had lunch and watched the NFL for a bit, then chatted awhile with Fr. Anselm before I drove him to the airport for his 4PM flight back to Nassau. When I returned I hoped to watch the Patriots but it was Miami vs. Buffalo and all we could do was scan the scrolling banner at the bottom of the screen waiting for the Pat’s score against Seattle (we won!)

We had heard that a local man had surgery and we called and were invited to drop by. I brought the Blessed Sacrament, a book of prayers, and Ginni and I drove to their home. Despite what we had been told about them from the parishioners, the person having the surgery was 10. The other surprise was that he was severely physically handicapped.

In Norwood, one of my ministries was Chaplain to a group called Faith and Light. This is a ministry to the intellectually disabled and at St. Timothy’s they were mostly adults. Here we are on Andros and the first home visit we make is to a disabled child – see how God prepares you for ministry!

Our visit was wonderful, I held the boy in my arms for most of the visit and Ginni’s homecare experience as a visiting nurse suddenly become incredibly important. We found the father was Catholic and mother Anglican. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and I was able to share about Faith and Light to them. They know of other families with disabled children in the area and we hope we can get them all together at St. John’s. Who knows, we might even start a Faith and Light chapter right here on Andros.

On that topic, one of the women we met at the Navy AUTEC base is from Massachusetts and was involved with L’Arch. L’Arch is a ministry created by Jean Vanier that ministers to the disabled with disabled and able bodied people live together in a group home setting. So-o-o we have a L’Arch experienced woman in the area and our first home visit is to a disabled child, who’s parents know of other disabled children in the area – do you think God might be doing something on that front? Time will tell.

Enough for now – keep us in your prayers.
Frank and Ginni

PS – Ginni just called me to watch 3 dolphins swim by in our ‘back yard’ turns out it was 2 adults and a BABY!


Matt said...

Sounds like this "little ministry" is about to become a whole lot more.

Melissa said...

CCD crafting books are on their way to you via Mike.
I hope they help.

Sue said...

Well, I have just bookmarked my new favorite blog! It sounds like your ministry on Andros is beginning to flower in a whole lot of beautiful directions. I'm so happy we all get to have ringside seats and see it because of your blog.

Sue Petro

Liza said...

We are so excited for you guys! We will try and Skype you tonight from our apartment in New Orleans. I feel like a film crew should be following you around, your stories are amazing!