…An elderly lady parishioner is dying in the local hospital, and this week I was able to visit her, hold her hand as she seemed far away in a semi-coma and give her the last sacrament – Viaticum. I hope it was a precious moment for her. For me, it most certainly was. Somehow it was such a joy to be able to say to her, truthfully, that God is very close to her, and that she is truly one with Jesus on the cross, whom she will soon surely meet, and with whom she is sharing that cross.

I have known her for a long time, and she is one of those special people who will never be thought of as important. In fact she has suffered much in her life, with great poverty, sadness with her own grandchildren; her daughter and son have both died, and yet she was always able to retain such marvellous dignity and serenity. It was a great joy to hear from one of her grandchildren, who feels she is the only family member left in his life, as he spent the afternoon with her on two days this week, afterwards then having to go to work.

She is, I am sure, very important in God’s eyes: she is important to me too, and to her grandchild who sat with her. The sick lady in the adjoining bed confided that she had joined in the prayers we said, and hoped I would not mind. She came from another Church and did not want to interfere. I pointed out there is only One God, and she rejoiced at the obvious unity among us. So did I. The Indian nurses with this lady quite obviously loved her in their caring of her. In fact the lady next door said “Bless her, the nurses have worked so hard to help her, but she cannot eat without being sick!” That is the second occasion this week that a patient in hospital in my hearing has praised the work of the hospital staff, and the nurses in particular. There are many good people in our world like my parishioner friend, and they are unsung heroes whose light deserves to shine more brightly