Compassionate Healers’ Mass celebrated Oct. 4 in diocese of Saskatoon

Bishop Mark Hagemoen offered a special blessing to caregivers and health care providers during the Compassionate Healers' Mass 2020 Oct. 4 in Saskatoon. (Photo by Tim Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

A live-streamed celebration of Sunday Mass from the Cathedral of the Holy Family on Oct. 4 was also the occasion for the 2020 Compassionate Healers’ Mass in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, honouring all those providing compassionate care for the sick and dying, including health care providers, chaplains and caregivers.

The celebration included special prayers for those providing care to others, as well as a blessing from Saskatoon Bishop Mark Hagemoen for all caregivers, medical personnel, chaplains, and health care workers.

Bishop Hagemoen noted that Oct 4 is the beginning of National Catholic Health Care Week (Oct. 4-10) held to recognize the impact, dedication and courage of those working in Catholic health care facilities.

The annual Compassionate Healers’ event is organized by the Catholic Health Association of Saskatchewan (CHAS), with similar celebrations also held in the Archdiocese of Regina and the Diocese of Prince Albert. At the Oct. 4 event in Saskatoon, CHAS Executive Director Blake Sittler offered a reflection on the call to care for the sick.

“This blessing is for the caregivers in our society, for those in the many Catholic long-term care homes and hospitals, but also for all people who offer care in Chrisitan humility,” he explained.

All disease is a burden, and caring is also a burden, said Sittler. “And yet care is a burden that we do not want to give up.”

The recently-released papal encyclical Fratelli Tutti includes a chapter about the parable of the Good Samaritan — a gospel story often referenced in Catholic health care, Sittler noted. “This person took on care for another person. Care doesn’t make our lives easier, but caring for others makes our lives better.”

The profound love of Christ in his sacrifice on the cross is echoed in those who offer care with “love that transforms our burdens into something holy and salvific,” he said.

The blessing prayer concluded the celebration:

Almighty God, Your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, showed love, compassion, and care for the sick and dying. Assist these, your servants, to see you and serve you in the sick and vulnerable.

May we strive always to be your presence

            To those who need physical healing,

            To those who are struggling with mental illness,

            To the elderly and home bound,

            To those who cry for spiritual support, especially those who feel abandoned by God,

            And for those who bear the affliction of loneliness and neglect.

Send forth your Holy Spirit so that those who strive to bring about healing may be a compassionate and peaceful presence to those whom they visit and care for.

Bless these men and women who are dedicated to helping and healing the sick. Guide them in their labours, and give them a greater share in your love. Reward their service by the peace and joy of your Holy Spirit, and by the everlasting happiness of heaven.”

Compassionate Healers’ Mass excerpt: