An Advent mini-retreat Dec. 5 in Morris Hall, Lawrenceville, gave volunteers who serve as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion to the patients in St. Lawrence Rehab Center and Morris Hall an opportunity to focus on the importance of their “sharing” ministry.

Father Angelo Amaral, Morris Hall chaplain, hoped the retreat would be an opportunity to thank volunteers for their service and to have them reconnect with the religious and spiritual roots of their service.

Leading a spiritual exercise for the group, Father Amaral stressed a thought of Pope Francis: “… the Lord invites us to make an act of great humanity: sharing.” He thanked those present for sharing their time with the sick and elderly, whom they visit on a regular basis, and, also, for sharing their thoughts and reflections on the ministry around the table.

Also leading a spiritual exercise was Deanna Sass, diocesan director, Department of Pastoral Care, who helped volunteers reflect on the realty that their ministry enriches their own lives as much as it brings comfort and nurtures faith, hope and love in those they serve.

Some of those present have served for 15 years, or more, said Sass, while others just signed up recently.

“There was unanimous agreement that all of the volunteers derive great meaning and satisfaction by bringing Holy Communion to the patients, but that is not why they do it. They truly love the patients, and they are committed to reminding them that they are not alone or forgotten, that God loves them and is always with them, and that is why they are there, to remind them of that,” Sass stressed.

Sass also shared the expressed appreciation of Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., for participants’ generous service, by giving each person “Embrace of Hope: Compassion in Times of Illness,” which is a book of quotes from Pope Francis complied by the USCCB: Catholic Health Association of the U.S.