As a faith-based organization, Resthaven knows the importance of caring for the spiritual wellbeing of all our residents. Our chaplain services often partner with other organizations to support residents from all faith backgrounds. We work with some wonderful partners to ensure that our Catholic residents have the access and resources to practice their faith.
The Catholic Church has a long history of deacons visiting shut-ins and people who can’t make the service. This practice ensures shut-ins have the ability to take Holy Communion, and also maintains the relationship and community among believers in a Parish.
The Eucharist, or Holy Communion, is a centerpiece of Catholic belief. The bread and wine are believed to be Jesus himself entering the mind, heart, and body of the believer. Through the Eucharist, believers are united with Jesus and better able to live out their calling to serve others. This is why it is so important for Catholic believers to take communion even if they can not be at a service.
One of our partners is Deacon Tony Nethercott from St. Peter Catholic Church in Douglas. Deacon Tony and his friend and driver Robert Sapita, come every week to Maple Woods and The Care Center to visit with our Catholic residents.
Robert is an Extraordinary Minister, a person specially trained and able to distribute communion. He helps residents take communion and Tony will pray with them and bless them.
“By partaking in communion, they are in communion together with all believers. They are physically homebound, but they are spiritually in communion,” Robert said.
Another partner in caring for the spiritual needs of Catholic Residents is St. Francis de Sales in Holland. Pastor Tom Eggleston comes at least once a month to lead communion services and rosary prayers for residents at The Care Center and Maple Woods. St. Francis will send other parishioners every week to visit with Catholic residents as well.
By holding a communal gathering every month, residents have the opportunity to participate in community such as that which they used to.
Pastor Eggleston has seen how this communal gathering can be especially impactful for people with dementia.
“The Rosary Prayer is a very traditional meditation that uses beads to prompt the recitation of the same prayer. This is a particularly impactful prayer for people in older generations. For people with dementia, they can get confused about which part comes next and praying as a group helps carry the prayer.”
He also remembers one resident with dementia who is non-verbal, but when he shares communion with her, she knows what’s happening and opens her mouth to receive communion. “You wouldn’t think she knows what is happening but something in her is still moving to allow her to enter into prayer.”
“Tom, Robert and Tony have been incredible resources to Resthaven as they have faithfully and consistently provided spiritual care to our Catholic residents,” said Rev, Leigh. “While we share a common faith in Jesus Christ, offering worship and prayers with familiar liturgies truly resonates with our Catholic sisters and brothers.”
If your loved one at Resthaven is interested in connecting with Catholic services, contact Rev. Leigh VanKempen, Resthaven’s Chaplin.