My father called me quite alarmed on Sunday while visiting my mother at Van Duyn, where she has been residing. He had made it a point to get up and go in earlier than usual so he could see that my mother attended holy Mass. Even though my dad might be considered a lapsed catholic, the rigorous training one experiences early on in life, especially in regard to the sacraments, often does, in fact, strike the fear of God in one.
"I've gotten myself into a pickle," he said. "Jesus is in my pocket."
It seems while riding up the elevator returning from Mass, my father noted my mom was struggling with something in her mouth.
"What's wrong, dear?" he queried.
Her blues eyes looked up at him over her glasses. She was apparently unable or unwilling to swallow whatever it was. Quick like a big bunny, he took out a tissue and asked her to spit it out, without reflecting on the fact they had just been to mass. Almost immediately, he realized it was the host - or the body of Christ our Lord in the form of communion. Alarmed, he realized he couldn't place the host back in my mother's mouth, as perhaps it would touch teeth, something that he learned was a no-no during his own training to receive the first communion. Instead, he made sure it was wrapped in the tissue and slipped it into his pocket and called me.
"That's a tough one," I said, remembering back to my own rigorous training. I know people have been actually touching hosts when taking communion from time to time. But my training said it goes from the priest's hand to your tongue, then down the chute. Absolutely "No chewing!" The thought of even handling the host, let alone having it in one's pocket was just plain nerve racking.
Then my dad remembered that Skaneateles' Jan Rosbrook was a Lay Chaplain at the Van Duyn, he called her and she came to his rescue, taking our Lord off his hands and into safe keeping.
God bless you Jan, as well as the many caregivers at Van Duyn - especially Cynthia and Bridgett.
Ellen Leahy lives in Skaneateles' Austin Park Village Limits Nieghborhood. Stop by or reach her at 434-8889 x319 or email@example.com. "I love a good story!"