Homily at Mass for Carers – Four Mile House

Homily at Mass for Carers – Four Mile House
Bishop Kevin Doran
Thursday 24th July 2014

I am delighted to be with you here in Four Mile House to celebrate this Mass for carers. Just twelve years ago my parents died, having both experienced a number of years of poor health. Each in their own way became more and more dependent on the care of those around them.

Becoming a carer in the family circle is like being born; it is not something you choose; you could say that it is something that happens to you. In another sense, however, like life itself, it is possible to see how becoming a carer is a “vocation”. It is an unexpected invitation from God to participate in the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. Living as a disciple is not always about what I would prefer to do; but how I respond to what I have been asked to do.

I think most of you, in your better moments, will recognise that there is a privilege involved in caring for someone at home, where they can be in familiar surroundings and close to family and friends. Sometimes it is only later on that you can really appreciate this. Let’s be honest, though, it can also be very challenging and isolating to be a carer and the question needs to be asked “who cares for the carer”?

The first disciples were sent out in pairs and, in this way, Jesus made it clear that no Christian vocation is meant to be lived in isolation. My own experience would suggest that being a carer has a way of creeping up on you. You don’t always notice it coming, and neither do other people, even other family members. It is important to speak up, for your own sake and for the sake of those for whom you care, so that the wider community of family and parish, which also has some responsibility, doesn’t sail on oblivious to the need.

The Carers Association is a very valuable source of support and information. I encourage you also not to lose sight of the spiritual support which your local parish can offer, through the pastoral visit, the sacrament of the sick and perhaps the broadcast Mass on parish radio.

Sometimes we are strong on the surface but struggling inside. In our second reading today Paul prays for the people of Ephesus that they may have power through the Holy Spirit for their hidden selves to grow strong and that they may come to know the full reality of God’s love. That is my prayer for you today.