This deserves more attention — and should be emulated everywhere.
From The Chicago Tribune:
As the medical crisis deepened, religious leaders were devising ways to attend to those facing death. To ensure priests can minister to the sick and dying, the archdiocese created the 24-man response team.
“I think it is Cardinal (Blase) Cupich’s commitment to making sure that to people who are in a very vulnerable state of their life that they can be shown that they are not alone,” O’Donnell said.
Ordinarily, family members would contact their local parish to have what’s often known as last rites performed. Now, when a local parish is contacted, the parish must then notify the archdiocese. And from there, a priest from the team will be sent to carry out the sacrament, formally called the anointing of the sick.
When trying to put together the group two weeks ago, the archdiocese asked priests who were under age 60 with no chronic illness to volunteer. The archdiocese, in consultation with medical professionals, gave the priests a 2 ½ hour training on the proper protocols and supplied them with protective equipment.
“We’re going to be the first responders on the spiritual side for Catholics in Cook and Lake county,” said the Rev. Manuel Dorantes, the 36-year-old pastor at St. Mary of the Lake in Buena Park. “Whatever happens, it’s going to be the 24 of us on the front lines.”
But performing the anointing of the sick is especially hard now, when many hospitals have banned visitors.
Read more. And please: remember these men in your prayers.