My Dear Friends,
Today Catholic Christians celebrate the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time.  On this day, we read in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus telling us, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden light” (Matthew 10: 28-29).

At least once a year, I remind everyone that if you are going to the hospital for elective surgery or serious procedure, please ask for the Sacrament of the Sick – “anointing” – when you come to church on the weekend.  I always have my oil of the sick in my pocket and can do the sacrament on the spot.  Please note that New Hanover Regional Medical Center and Lower Cape Fear Hospice have no Catholic priests on their payroll.  Therefore, there is no priestly coverage provided by these institutions, and only ordained Catholic priests and bishops can anoint the sick.  Also remember that Saturday is the busiest day of the week for me.  Also remember that there is only 1 parish with two priests, and that is St. Mark.  Usually, I cannot anoint people in the hospital or in hospice at any time on Saturdays, and not before late afternoons on Sundays.  Naturally if you went to the hospital on an emergency basis, I or another priest in the area would anoint you if and when there is time to do so.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

-           Father Bob