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Home : Community : Customer Gallery : All Saints Parish Prayer Shawl Ministry's

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All Saints Parish Prayer Shawl Ministry's
Created By: Dona Kocylowski

Our first formation meeting for the All Saints Parish Prayer Shawl Ministry in Plymouth, Pennsylvania, was held on Wednesday, August 1, 2007. Excited and nervous about who, other than my friend and co-worker Barbara and I would be there, I arrived early. Father Don greeted me at the door of the Rectory, and led me into the kitchen.
Fr. explained that he was sorry, but he would not be able to stay to greet the group, as he had an emergency. One of our parishioners, Bernie, who had been caring for his grandchildren since their mother's death, was being placed into Hospice this evening. The grandchildren and Bernie were understandably very distraught. Father then said, "I need a Prayer Blanket now -- I'd really love to take one with me. Do you have one?"

I apologized and explained that although I had several Prayer Shawls made and with me, I hadn't made a prayer blanket yet. But, I told Father, that my friend Barbara, who should be here momentarily, may have one with her. As if on cue, Barbara entered the Rectory. After the initial introductions, I explained to Barbara that Father had an urgent need for a prayer blanket, and recounted the situation.

Thankfully, Barbara said, "Sure, I have some blankets", as she proceeded to put out two for Father to choose from. I could tell from Father's face that he was both surprised at Barbara's willingness, and was very pleased. He again asked, "Are you sure I can take one?" Barbara assured him that he could. He then asked me which one I liked best. I took a liking to a beautiful cream and tan striped one -- and so did Father. He selected the tan and cream striped blanket and left to be with Bernie and his family.

Following evening Mass on Saturday, 8/4/07, Father stopped to tell me about the events of Wednesday evening. Father said, "I went to be with the family as Bernie was being transferred from his hospital room to a room in the Hospice Unit. I didn't let on about the Prayer Blanket until we had Bernie settled into his new room. Bernie was in pain and was very restless." It was at this point that Father began to explain the Prayer Shawl Ministry and the Prayer Blanket: "that someone that taken the time to make Bernie a blanket and prayed for him, and would continue to pray for him". Father then laid the blanket over Bernie. Almost immediately, Father said, "a calmness came over him. Bernie drew the blanket to his neck and crossed his arms." Father then blessed the blanket and Bernie. At this point, Bernie told Father it was the nicest gift he ever received and pulled the blanket even tighter to him. It was then, Father said, that a tear fell upon Bernie's cheek, and within minutes Bernie was fast asleep. Father said he had never seen anything quite like it, and as Father put it, "I get goose-bumps just thinking about it". I called Barbara the next day to let her know how much the blanket meant to Father and especially Bernie. Now you might think that this is the end of the story, well' it's not.

The following Wednesday, I arrived early for our Prayer Shawl Meeting, and found Father sitting at the dining room table. Father said, "Dona, I was waiting for you....I have to tell you about Bernie". My heart sunk, as I feared the worst. Father continued, "Dona, Bernie went home". Well, I assumed that Father was nicely telling me that Bernie had died and was Home in Heaven. I began to tell Father how very sorry I was to hear that. Father said, "No, Dona, Bernie went HOME -- to his house -- he was discharged from Hospice! Don't ever doubt the power of these blankets or Shawls. God is definitely at work here. We had our first miracle!". I was amazed. Father came to our group meeting to tell the members our good news, and to explain Bernie's reaction when he received the Prayer Blanket. Again Father stressed to all, "don't ever doubt the power of prayer or the power of these prayer shawls and blankets".

Throughout August, September, October and most of November, we continued to get reports from our Eucharistic Ministers who would visit Bernie at home and take him Holy Communion. Every time they visited, Bernie had his Prayer Blanket covering him, and would explain to them again and again, that someone cared enough to make this for him. He continually expressed his appreciation for this wonderful gift.

On November 28th, 2007, Bernie lost his battle and returned to his Heavenly home. At the viewing, covering Bernie, was his Prayer Blanket!

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