By Father Troy Richmond
As we read through the Gospels, it is evident that healing was an important part of our Lord’s ministry. From the accounts of Jesus driving out demons to healing the man born blind to raising Lazarus from the dead, we see the high priority Christ placed on restoring the sick to health of soul and body. From the many physical healings to the encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well to the mercy offered to the woman caught in adultery, Jesus desired to heal the whole person physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Yet, our Lord’s work of healing did not end with his death, resurrection and ascension. Christ commissioned his disciples to continue his work of healing. “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents [with their hands], and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mk 16:15, 17-18).
The Church offers healing through the sacraments, in particular the Eucharist, anointing of the sick and confession. The Church continues to carry out Christ’s mission of healing through the ministry of priests, deacons, religious and laypersons. For a number of years, the late Msgr. Marvin Mottet offered Healing Masses at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport and in other parishes throughout the Diocese of Davenport. At the conclusion of these Masses, prayer teams composed of clergy and laity prayed over all who desired physical, emotional and spiritual healing. Over the past decade or so, through the encouragement of Msgr. Mottet, several priests, deacons and laywomen began to meet on a regular basis to be educated, pray and discern where the Spirit was leading the ministry of healing within our diocese.
Several years ago, this group began to pray for a greater sense of clarity and direction for the ministry of healing within our diocese. In our prayer we sensed, very clearly, that a new direction was needed moving forward. Through an entire year of praying and discerning the movement of the Spirit, we felt that it was time to do something different apart from the traditional Healing Masses. Prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we launched several evenings of prayer we called “Enflame.”
During our Enflame evenings/afternoons of prayer, within the context of eucharistic adoration, there is time for praise and worship, ministry offered by a trained prayer team, and several priests available for the sacrament of confession. Our next Enflame afternoon of prayer will take place on Sunday, Sept. 18, at St. Mary Church in Pella from 3-5 p.m. The afternoon will begin with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and continue with praise and worship music and prayer teams and priest confessors who will be available throughout the afternoon.
I have been blessed to be part of the ministry of healing within our diocese over the past 12 years. I have had the privilege of witnessing many healings whether physical, emotional or spiritual. Whereas many seek out healing for their physical infirmities, the most beautiful healing comes when we discover who we are as beloved children cradled in our Father’s loving arms.
(Father Troy Richmond is pastor at St. Mary parishes in Oskaloosa and Pella.)