by Bob Hart
Special to The Leaven
OVERLAND PARK — When the diagnosis comes, it’s all about hope.
“So many people’s lives are touched by cancer,” said Marge Hattrup, St. Peregrine Outreach Coordinator for Holy Spirit Parish in Overland Park. “There’s probably no one you could talk to today who does not know someone whose life has been touched in a significant way by cancer.”
Hattrup said she has lost an aunt and many dear friends to the disease, and counts her brother among beloved cancer survivors in her life.
With the blessing and enthusiastic support of their new pastor, Father Rick Storey, Hattrup and other Holy Spirit parishioners began earlier this year to actively promote devotion to St. Peregrine, patron saint for those with cancer and other serious illnesses.
In conjunction with Holy Spirit’s 2008 church renovation, a first-class relic and statue of St. Peregrine were commissioned. Dr. Chris Sirridge, a parishioner and oncologist, was the primary donor. Beginning in March, the parish began offering bimonthly Masses of hope and healing.
On Nov. 14, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann will be the celebrant at the 9 a.m. Mass. Hattrup said she hopes the archbishop’s participation will call more attention to the ministry.
“We don’t want to be the best-kept secret in Kansas City,” she said. “We want everyone to know about this.”
Father Storey said the Masses, which will be held monthly soon if there is sufficient interest and attendance, emphasize hope and the healing of the whole person.
“This is not our final resting place,” Father Storey said. “We pray that the body, the soul and the mind will all be healed. But even if the cancer is terminal, there is still hope. There is no greater hope than your Shepherd bringing you hope.”
He added that those facing illness are not the only ones who can benefit from taking part in the Masses of healing and hope.
“Anyone who is terminally ill, anyone with a serious illness, anyone who cares for someone with a serious illness [is invited]. . . . We also urge cancer survivors to come in thanksgiving,” he said. “And anyone who needs healing of mind and spirit is welcome also. This Mass is for them.”
Hattrup said the parish is also producing and distributing brochures about the ministry to be made available in doctors’ offices in the area.
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