Week of Prayer for Dementia
12-19 March 2012
Bishop David McGough, an Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, has lent his support to the National Week of Prayer for Dementia. This week, devoted to prayer and awareness of dementia, is now in its third successful year.
Specially designed prayer cards are available from the Pastoral Care Project. The cards encourage parishioners to think and pray for people who live with dementia, their families and carers.
Ahead of the week, Bishop McGough reflects on the importance of prayer:
“Few of us can imagine the isolation, and consequent anxiety, that this affliction brings both to those who suffer and their families. Through prayer let us ground ourselves in our communion with the Lord, making ourselves one with the many who suffer and those who care for them.”
Dementia can happen to anyone. Manager of the Pastoral Care Project charity, Frances Molloy says: “Our charity, which began its pioneering work in 1994 is indebted to the many, many hundreds of people with dementia whose journeys we were privileged to share; including the precious time of their going home to the Lord. These special memories have inspired many of our resources including Instructions for my Funeral Mass.”
She recalls the story of Agnes (not her real name, but her real story). “Agnes, her sister and their two sons meet from time to time for lunch. On one occasion a few weeks ago when they were at the table eating, Agnes asked her nephew ‘Where is your mother?’ He was unprepared… holding back tears, not knowing how to respond, he said, ‘Mum died last month Aunty, you were with us at mum’s funeral. Agnes hung her head, and through the tears said, ‘How could I forget?'”
This week is all about not forgetting, but remembering in prayer. Frances continues: “As this week of prayer is almost upon us, we wish to acknowledge the support of several schools organising yellow-themed events, such as Wear something Yellow and bring in £1 for the Pastoral Care Project. These schools will be making use of the dementia awareness presentations and praying the Dementia prayer available on Youtube. A few care homes run by religious orders will be inviting families to join them in prayer and stay for afternoon tea to raise funds for the Pastoral Care Project – a charity which relies on donations for most of its funding with this year’s need being greater than ever. Cheques should be made payable to the Pastoral Care Project.”
There will be Mass and Devotions and Healing Services in various cathedrals and parishes in the UK and Ireland. Bishop David McGough, lead bishop to the Pastoral Care Project, will be celebrating Mass on 14th March at 19.00 at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish, Bulkington in the Archdiocese of Birmingham for the week of Prayer for Dementia. The Mass will be offered for all dementia sufferers, their families and carers – all are welcome and for those who are unable to attend, prayer petitions will be offered at the Mass.