February 12, 2010

Reader appreciates how priest ministers to the sick and elderly

(Ruth Hanson is a member of St. Joseph Parish in Corydon. She wrote to The Criterion to share the story of how her pastor, Father Daniel Atkins, ministered to her at the time of her husband’s death in 2005.)

Father Dan Atkins is pastor of our tri-parish community: St. Joseph Parish in Corydon, Most Precious Blood Parish in New Middletown and St. Peter Parish in Harrison County.

My first meeting with Father Dan was in June 2005. Right from the very beginning, he had all of the best qualifications that anyone would expect in a parish priest.

One of his most outstanding qualifications is his caring, outgoing and lovable attitude in visiting the sick and elderly.

Pete Hanson, my husband, was in a nursing home on Jan. 20, 2009. Our family was to meet with hospice staff members that same evening at 5 p.m.

I went to the nursing home shortly after 3 p.m., and two of the people from the hospice were already there.

One of the young ladies walked to Pete’s room with me. He had been put on oxygen and was sleeping. When I asked the young lady what she thought about my Pete, she said he had about two days (to live).

I called my daughter-in-law, Susan, and she called our son, Michael. Then I called the parish office and told Molly, our secretary, and she told Diane, our parish’s manager.

I went back to Pete’s room and said the rosary with and for him. When I finished, Pete went peacefully to his eternal reward within the hour.

I went and got the nurse. She checked Pete and couldn’t find a pulse.

When I stepped outside of Pete’s room, there was Father Dan. I honestly felt that God had just dropped him down from heaven.

When the nurse was finished, we all went in and Father Dan did what was necessary and we prayed together. Words cannot express how it felt to have Father Dan there.

Father Dan is there for everyone. He never says no when it comes to visiting the sick. †

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