By Jill Kruse
Witness Editorial Assistant
NEW HAMPTON — Intended to bring comfort and grace to those unable to leave their homes because of age, illness or other circumstances, a two-CD set titled “Sit with Me: The Rosary for the Homebound, Sick and Dying” is one of a number of different resources available through the Archdiocese of Dubuque for homebound individuals and those who minister to them.
The “Sit with Me” CD was created in 2009 by the Office of Family Life with cooperation from the archdiocesan diaconate community. On the CD, Archbishop Emeritus Jerome Hanus, OSB, leads listeners in praying the joyful, sorrowful, glorious and luminous mysteries of the rosary.
Before each decade, a Bible verse is read that relates to the upcoming mystery, as well as a reflection and a brief prayer. Reflections and prayers for each of the mysteries were written by the deacons and wives of Formation Class XIII, and were recorded by them, as well as by parish nurses who visit the homebound, sick and dying in local parishes.
“I always take away something new from the CD, something different pops out at me each time,” said Sandy Shekleton, a member of Holy Family Parish in New Hampton who prays with the “Sit with Me” CD each day. “God opens up my eyes, and every time I pray with it, I see a different way it can be applied to my life.”
Shekleton is not homebound, but after developing a serious health problem in 2015, she was limited for a time in her ability to leave her house. After the illness, and while on the road to recovery, Shekleton discovered a copy of the “Sit with Me” CD in her church’s rectory.
She listened to the CD, liked very much what she heard and began using it daily. Shekleton said she finds the CD so helpful to her spiritual life that she chooses to pray all of its 20 decades (all four sets of the mysteries of the rosary) each day, which takes her approximately two hours to do. She also requested a transcript of the CD and sometimes uses that when needed.
Kim Feldman, the director of the archdiocese’s Education Resource Center (ERC), said the “Sit with Me” CD and other resources for the homebound are important, because they help brighten and break up the sometimes long days experienced by the homebound.
She said such resources also help homebound individuals to grow in their spirituality during a period when they have more time to reflect and pray, and also to remain connected to the wider church and celebrate the liturgical seasons when they are unable to attend Mass or participate in learning opportunities in their parish.
A sampling of the resources available at the Education Resource Center can be viewed at the center’s website: https://www.dbqarch.org/ERC/topical-catalogs/. Included in the catalog are books for spiritual growth, prayer books, audio books on CD and music CDs, DVDs for spiritual growth and faith formation, inspirational feature films on DVD, and online resources that may be of interest for the homebound.
Individuals from parishes are welcome to contact the ERC requesting resources, but all shipments are sent to the parishes and are generally returned through the parish office. The homebound can inquire about the possibility of having their resources delivered and picked back up by the parish’s care ministers who visit with them.
“Parishes might even consider ordering a handful of resources and asking the parish care ministers to take the resources with them so that homebound individuals might have some options from which to choose — kind of like a mobile library,” Feldman suggested. “This might be an especially welcome opportunity during the seasons of Lent and Advent when individuals are especially motivated to utilize resources of this kind.”
Individuals who are homebound or parish care ministers who have questions about borrowing resources can contact the Education Resource Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-876-3546.
The “Sit with Me” CD is also available for purchase through the Office of Family Life by contacting Lynne Chapman at email@example.com.
An Iraqi woman holds a rosary during Mass in 2016 at a church in Baghdad. A year after the U.S. genocide declaration, the Knights of Columbus is continuing its humanitarian support for persecuted Christian communities in the region by contributing nearly $2 million in new assistance. (CNS photo/Ali Abbas, EPA)