“Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (1 Cor 12:27)
“On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable…” (1 Cor 12:23)
Generations are important to Bev Killian. After having lived in Philadelphia, New Jersey, North Carolina, and rural western Ohio, Bev and her husband finally settled in Grove City five years ago to be near their children. From her accent to cultural differences to big city versus rural, Bev “learned so much from each place we lived.” However, in Grove City the two of them found a home, “We just love being here.” It was the generations of their children and their grandsons that drew them to our parish.
As a recent retiree Bev joined several social committees and volunteers at Mt. Carmel, but she “had the yearning” to do something more spiritual for her life. Two-and-a-half years ago she noticed an advertisement in the bulletin asking for help providing the Holy Eucharist to homebound persons. (My first reaction at hearing this was, “So people actually do read the bulletin!”) For the next eighteen months Bev coordinated the Extraordinary Ministers who bring the Eucharist to the elderly and other persons who are not able to regularly attend Mass.
No doubt if you read the bulletin (people actually do read the bulletin!) you know a recurring theme I have encountered is the Holy Spirit working through other persons to guide us when we need a subtle, or not so subtle, nudge. For Bev it was one of her Extraordinary Ministers who pointed out, “So you’re on the list of us able to distribute the Eucharist, but I don’t see you actually distributing the Eucharist.” That was all Bev needed to involve herself more intimately into this ministry.
Bev has always been a “people person” and greatly enjoys walking into a home and simply chatting with the person and their family. She explains, “You get to know these people… they become like family.” Currently she provides the Eucharist to the 95-year-old matriarch of a farming family and has the privilege of meeting five generations of that family at the same time in their farmhouse. Bev finds purpose in simply the “joy of talking about God and faith” with all of them. She pauses and then adds, “It’s just the little things.”
Perhaps tellingly Bev further explains, “I’m a firm believer that God puts the people in your life that you need when you need them.” For her this family has become her family. All the people I have interviewed have expressed how much more they get out of their ministries than they put into them. It was Karen Cook that first introduced me to Bev and her story and humorously added, “I’m so glad we were able to find a family to take care of Bev.”
When I ask her the most powerful moment she has experienced in this ministry, Bev does not hesitate. The youngest member of those five generations was recently born with a severe heart defect that required open-heart surgery at the tender age of 6-months. His family was attempting to order some holy water from the grotto at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in France. Bev and her husband had previously completed a pilgrimage to Lourdes and had some of that holy water at home. She immediately agreed to bring it to the family. Two days after the surgery the infant developed fluid around his heart and the prognosis was not positive. His family sprinkled him with that holy water and prayed over him and trusted God and the medical staff.
A mere few days later Bev was holding him in her lap in the farmhouse. One of the family took a picture of that scene and it is now framed in his bedroom with a caption referencing this is the lady who brought the holy water. Bev smiles and says, “You’re ministering to the whole family.”
If she had one wish Bev wants all of us to show more peace and harmony. She acknowledges this seems like an impossible wish at the moment given the nearly constant vitriol we throw at each other. Bev further explains that, “We can disagree, but we can respect each other even if we disagree.”
Outside of ministering to the homebound Bev enjoys reading and golfing although she describes herself as more of a “hacker” than a golfer. She loves the personal interactions with the homebound and their families but finds the logistics challenging in coordinating Extraordinary Ministers with those needing this assistance. In fact, when I was able to interview Bev in the morning, that evening Marti Hurd and Fr. Yokum were holding a meeting to address the coordination difficulties. The dedicated members of this ministry are growing fewer and older, and they could use help.
For anyone who might be interested in this ministry, Bev assures me that it is not nearly as difficult as you would imagine. All the Extraordinary Ministers are given cards that walk them through the necessary prayers and readings. She also explains that praying and proclaiming the Gospel in a small group is extremely powerful.
I am reminded of Fr. John Riccardo who is an avid golfer. He recounted having an associate pastor who was an equally avid hunter and once asked him, “When you’re sitting up there at the altar do you sometimes think about hunting?” When that priest replied in the affirmative, Fr. Riccardo responded, “I’m so glad because I just spent almost an entire Mass thinking about golfing.” For those of us who regularly attend Mass it can become routine, regular, and perhaps even boring.
Bev assures me that praying and reading the Gospel for the homebound and their families is anything but boring. She also adds that you may think you do not know enough regarding scripture, prayer, or our shared Catholic faith. In fact, those same concerns kept her from actively participating in this ministry until the Holy Spirit dragged her into it. Bev assures me, “It’s completely okay to say, ‘I don’t know’ but I’ll find out.”
If you feel the Holy Spirit is drawing you towards ministering to the homebound you can contact Marti Hurd in the parish office at
By Eric Brooks