REGINA — No one is quite sure when it all began, but Christ the King Parish in Regina has developed and sustained a highly organized, well-trained ministry that involves 60 people who provide lay ministry services and visiting to about 260 sick and elderly people who live mostly in care homes within the parish boundaries.
There are 16 lay ministry teams, each with a commissioned lay minister, reader, and “hopefully” a musician,” says Linda Lucyk, Parish Pastoral Care co-ordinator, in describing the ministry to the Prairie Messenger.
The teams provide weekly lay ministry services to all the care homes within the boundaries of Christ the King Parish. About 15 commissioned visitors bring weekly, and in some cases bi-weekly, communion to individuals who can’t leave their homes. Every individual receives a card and/or a rosary. The cards and rosaries are placed on the walls in the homes and hospitals near patient beds.
“They are a sign of our love for them; that God cares for them and they are a valuable part of our parish community,” said Lucyk. She eschews the term “volunteers” to describe her people. “They are part of a ministry!” she says emphatically.
“This is very unique that not only has Christ the King a parish to serve, but a whole parish of people who never come into the building, that we are committed to serve and it’s a common mission that creates a lot of enthusiasm within the parish,” said Lucyk.
She is animated and enthusiastic as she describes the various programs that support the ministry and how the parish, including elementary and high school students, are involved.
“The pastoral leadership here is incredible. Father Antony Sathiadis (pastor), our pastoral council — they are all completely committed to this ministry.”
That kind of support allows her to produce various materials, including cards, rosaries, the parish calendar, prayer shawls, and recently a hymnal/mass book with larger print organized in accordance with the seasons of the church year, with minimal or no cost. The students and a few adults who create the cards and the women who knit the prayer shawls, donate or use donated materials; Staples, an office supply and technology firm, bound the book and encased it in plastic for less than five dollars each.
Lucyk does create a budget which must be approved by parish council, “but I try to find different ways to cover my costs.” Prayer shawls contain a small card — “Made with love by Christ the King Parish” — and they are blessed in conjunction with the Compassionate Healers Mass in October or the World Day of the Sick in February, then distributed to people who “would benefit from the warmth, blessings and caring prayers the shawls represent.”
All participants receive special training in line with Regina archdiocesan protocols and the rules and regulations of the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region.