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'Dear Friends' April 2007

Monday, April 2, 2007    

A Blessed Holy Week and Happy Easter

Dear Friends,

  We wish you a blessed holy week and a happy Easter. And we invite you to please keep all family caregivers and those receiving care in your prayers on Good Friday, the day on which Jesus asked St. John the Apostle to take care of Our Lady.

   We want to thank Father Thomas Landry, Kathy Eldridge and Bishop Dale J. Melczek of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains for their encouraging words to us at the association's recent national convention in Portland, Ore. Each made a point of stopping by the Friends of St. John the Caregiver display table to find out more about the organization and to thank members for the spiritual support they're giving to caregivers worldwide.

   We met so many wonderful chaplains from throughout the United States and were able to distribute more than 400 copies of "The Little Book of Caregiver Prayers" as well as many, many bookmarks and holy cards. The following week we received a letter and donation from one hospital chaplain who wrote:

  "Upon my return to ministry . . . I shared your treasures with our other chaplains. They were as enthused as I, especially with your very real prayers written for caregivers. We dispersed all the materials which I had brought home with me and have a major need for more.
. . . It would be a blessing for all of us if we could receive a supply of all your material. We would need 400 prayer books, and 100 of your bookmarks and holy cards. . . . Of course, we will continue to keep all members of the organization as well as all caregivers in our prayers. God bless you as you continue your ministry."

  And God bless you, Sister. Needless to say, we're happy to send the books, bookmarks and holy cards.

  We're frequently asked (by bishops, pastors, chaplains, diocesan and parish staff, families and caregivers) how the Friends of St. John the Caregiver can simply give away its services and material at no charge. The answer? Wonderful, generous donors who realize that caregiving is pro-life!

   And speaking of donations . . . . You may have received information in the mail about our first fund-raising drive. Thank you so much to the many people who have responded! We truly appreciate your support.

                                                          Monica and Bill






















































 

Monday, April 9, 2007    

Easter Week 2007

Dear Friends,

   Happy Easter Week 2007! In his homily during the celebration of Mass for the Easter Vigil, Pope Benedict XVI offered the reminder that:

    "[The] words of the Risen Christ to the Father have also become words which the Lord speaks to us: 'I arose and now I am still with you,' he says to each of us.  My hand upholds you.  Wherever you may fall, you will always fall into my hands.  I am present even at the door of death.  Where no one can accompany you further, and where you can bring nothing, even there I am waiting for you, and for you I will change darkness into light."

   You can read the entire homily here.

  What a blessed -- and busy -- time of year this can be. We know that in many families, caregivers find themselves members of the "sandwich generation," caring for a spouse or parents (or grandparents) and children (or grandchildren). Or, yes, in some cases: a spouse, grandparents, parents, children and grandchildren.

   We received a lovely e-mail from James K., a member of St. John parish in St. John, Indiana. (What a great name for a parish, a town . . . and a caregiver organization!) He asked for 100 copies of the FSJC  holy card/prayer card for members of a caregiver support group he and his wife facilitate. Of course we were happy to send them! And we're always happy to hear of caregiver support groups set up in parishes. If you belong to one, or know of one, please let us know. There are other caregivers, and parishes, who would like information on establishing one.

   We also want to thank the many people who have responded to our first fund-raising drive. Your prayers, words of encouragement and donations mean so much to us. (No, it's not too late if that's an item on your to-do list that you just haven't reached yet. You can send a check to the Friends of St. John the Caregiver, P.O. Box 320, Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043 or donate on-line at: donations.)

   God bless you!  

                                                          Monica and Bill

Past "Dear Friends" notes
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Monday, April 16, 2007    

The Seasons, the Stages, of Caregiving

Dear Friends,

   We were visiting on the phone last week with a couple of friends who live in Wisconsin. While we talked of tulips in bloom and neighbors mowing lawns here in Western Washington state where we live, they mentioned how many inches of snow were predicted in their area. Later, the two of us realized the same holds true when it comes to family caregiving: Every family, every caregiver, can be in a different "season" any time of the year. Realizing that there are stages of caregiving, and each stage has its own challenges and graces, can help you with this vocation to which God has called you.

  And please know that you are not alone in this even when, at times, caregiving can be so lonely. Members of the Friends of St. John the Caregiver are praying for you and for your loved one!

  This week we want to welcome three new FSJC members: Jeanne, Peggy and Jeff. They've promised to pray for you, too! (Praying for caregivers and those in their care is the only requirement for becoming a member. No dues. [Monica insisted on that.] And no meetings. [That was the way Bill wanted it.]) We invite you to join, too.

    Again this week we want to thank the many people who have responded to our first fund-raising drive. If you would like to donate, you can send a check to the Friends of St. John the Caregiver, P.O. Box 320, Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043 or donate on-line at: donations.)

   God bless you!  

                                                          Monica and Bill

Past "Dear Friends" notes
To contact us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, April 23, 2007    

"Middle of the Night" Thinking

Dear Friends,

   Small children are afraid of the dark. Adults are afraid in the dark. That's what it can seem like anyway. If you're like us, the middle of the night is when worries seem biggest, concerns seem most overwhelming and hope seems hardest to come by. It's only a mental hop, skip and a jump from a mind that's listing problems to one that's racing with them. In the light of day, we're more likely to realize that our perception and judgment are off track when it comes to "middle of the night" thinking. That we aren't seeing things clearly in those wee, small hours, even though we're feeling them deeply.

   No one has to tell you that caregiving has its share -- perhaps more than its share -- of those nights. Yes, turning it all over to God in prayer is an obvious first move but, even then, sometimes it's hard not to keep thinking about what a person needs a break from thinking about. If you have an mp3 player or iPod, you might try what we've found helpful. Lately Monica has been listening to hymns and prayers from Pray-as-you-go.org, a terrific resource from the Jesuits in Great Britain. And Bill has been drifting back to sleep to the sure and steady voice of Sgt. Joe Friday on radio broadcasts of "Dragnet." (Available for downloading at, among other places, RadioMickDanger.com.)

   Again this week we want to welcome new FSJC members: Carolyn, Kay, Mary Elizabeth, Margaret, Mal and Ann. Thanks so much to each of them for promising to pray for family caregivers and those receiving their care. (We invite you to join, too.)

   And we want to thank writer Barbara Mulvey Little for her article about the Friends of St. John the Caregiver (and, blush, us) in The Catholic Northwest Progress newspaper.

   Thank you, too, to Diane and Gary who made a donation to FSJC as a way to mark her parents' 63rd anniversary! If you would like to make a donation in honor of an anniversary or birthday (something for that couple or person who seems to "have everything"), we're happy to send a card their way telling them what a thoughtful -- and greatly appreciated -- gift has been given in their honor. You can write to us at Friends of St. John the Caregiver, P.O. Box 320, Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043 or donate on-line at: donations.)

   God bless you!  

                                                          Monica and Bill

Past "Dear Friends" notes
To contact us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, April 30, 2007    

Three Pennies and a Thumbtack

Dear Friends,

   A few months ago Monica was speaking at a meeting of pastors and other parish staff. They listened politely as she talked about the Friends of St. John the Caregiver and the programs it offers. Then their heads popped up and their eyes locked on to her when she noted: "And that's why we've designed CatholicCaregivers.com so it doesn't cost a parish any money or any staff time." Hello!

   Both of us have worked for the Church as volunteers and as paid staff and so we know parishes don't have money or time to spare. We also know every parish has family caregivers looking for information, resources and support. And every parish, once it recognizes that need, wants to help its members! The solution?

   CatholicCaregivers.com -- which offers training and educational material to dioceses and parishes -- makes all its material available on-line at no charge. None. Nada. Zippo. And each item is downloadable as a Word or PDF document. Every month we add:

--"Catholic Caregivers": a one-page flier on a caregiving topic
--"Caregiving is pro-life!" bulletin briefs: quotes on caregiving that can be cut and pasted into bulletins and newsletters
--caregiver-related Prayers of Intercession for each Sunday of the month, based on the Mass readings for that day

   We know some parishes include a bulletin brief from time to time. Some use one of the Prayers of the Faithful. And some print out the fliers and either insert them into the bulletins or leave a few in the back of the church.

   So we must confess, mustn't we? It might cost a parish a few dollars to run off a couple hundred fliers. It might take a little staff time to cut and paste that caregiving quote. (Or to add a link to YourAgingParent.com on the parish's Web site. A great idea, by the way!)

  And, for a parish to print and post our new mini-poster on the church's bulletin board, it will cost about three pennies and a thumbtack.

  On the other hand, if you offered to put the poster up for the parish or run off a couple dozen copies of "Catholic Caregivers" each month and --with permission -- leave them in the back of the church, it wouldn't cost the parish anything would it? (Or take a few copies of The Basics of Catholic Caregiving to that Catholic Daughters of the Americas meeting, choir practice, the prayer meeting, the Knights of Columbus gathering, the grade school auction meeting . . . .)

   A lot can be accomplished for only a few pennies and a thumbtack.

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   Again this week we want to welcome new FSJC members: Rita and Connie. Thanks so much to each of them for promising to pray for family caregivers and those receiving their care. (We invite you to join, too.)

- - -

   This week we received several letters from people who are starting caregiver support groups in their parishes. We want to be able to offer them as much help and information as possible. So . . .

   If you have been a member of a caregiver support group would you please let us know what worked and what didn't work? What you liked and what you didn't like about it? Thank you so much!

   God bless you!  

                                                          Monica and Bill

Past "Dear Friends" notes
To contact us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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