Father Richard comes once a month to say Mass and bring Communion to the residents at Bishop Davies Nursing Center in Hurst. There are about 15 Catholics there and they are grateful for the visit from a priest. It always amazes me that so many of the aged residents, who often have no idea what day or season it is, sometimes not even their own names, can make the Sign of the Cross and respond with the correct “Lord have mercy,” at just the right time. It must be written on their hearts.
What is unique about Mass at the nursing home is that it is not uncommon for someone to sleep through the whole thing. Whether it is fatigue caused by medicine or just being worn out from a long life, there is usually at least one sleeper during Mass. This week, it was Gloria. I had to wake her up to ask if she wanted to come to Mass, but she replied “Yes,” pretty emphatically, so I wheeled her bed down to the parlor where Father would say Mass. She slept through the readings and through the homily, then through the Intercessions and most of the Eucharistic Prayer. However, when Father concluded the Doxology, I suddenly heard a loud, truly great, “Amen” from Gloria’s direction. And then she prayed the Our Father, without missing a word. But at the sign of peace, she was back asleep and couldn’t even wake up enough to receive Communion, so Father blessed her. It was as if the coming of the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist at the consecration was so powerful that it roused her from her sleep. I know I certainly felt His presence in an amazing way that morning.