WATERVILLE — The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland visited the residents of the Mount Saint Joseph Residence & Rehabilitation home in Waterville on Wednesday morning to celebrate a Mass and to dispense the sacrament of anointing the sick.

World Day of the Sick, instituted by Pope John Paul II in 1992, is typically marked by the Catholic Church every year on Feb. 11 as a way for people to offer prayers for those struggling with illness as well as to show thanks for those who care for the sick. Mount Saint Joseph celebrated one day later.

The Mass, which attracted around 50 residents and caretakers, was lead by Bishop Robert P. Deeley, who was accompanied by the Rev. Chris Piselli, of Waterville, the Rev. James Rioux, of Winslow, and the Rev. Patrick Finn of Corpus Christi Parish in Waterville.

Part of the holiday involves the ritual of the “anointing of the sick,” where a bishop or priest lays their hands on a sick person’s head and anoints them on the forehead and palms with a holy oil blessed by the bishop. The anointing may be administered to those suffering from illness, facing a medical crisis or treatment, or struggling with addiction.

Deeley and the priests performed this ritual to each and every attendee.

“I’m really happy to have this opportunity to visit this beautiful place in which care is given and love is shown,” Deeley said.

Deeley holds Mass in a different church each year in honor of the Day of the Sick and held last year’s in Biddeford, according to Dave Guthro, communications director for the Diocese of Portland.

“This day is an opportunity for us to remember the presence that God has in our lives,” Deeley said. “But also, to remember the contributions that our elderly and sick can make in our world. Just because they are infirmed doesn’t mean they aren’t part of our community and part of who we are, and I think it’s important to show respect for them.”

Deeley made personal visits to the rooms of those residents who were unable to attend the Mass in order to anoint them.

Mount Saint Joseph was established by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Lyons in 1966 and is located at 7 Highland St. in Waterville.


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