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Villa volunteers invite others to this ‘beautiful ministry’

Brad Heidrick is the CEO of Catholic Community Health.

by Brad Heidrick

“The sick are the image of the suffering Christ and it is him that we serve.”

Visiting the archdiocesan shrine of St. Maria Soledad at the cathedral and reading this phrase, I was struck by how this quote perfectly encapsulates the mission of Catholic Community Health.

All those who come to us for home care at Villa St. Francis or for hospice are suffering in some way — big or small — and it is a blessing to serve them. I witness firsthand the heroic actions of our staff, Sisters, priest chaplain and deacons every day; but there are unsung heroes who we depend on to provide our care: our volunteers.

Joining Catholic Community Health, I knew there were many volunteers, but witnessing their selfless care firsthand, my respect and admiration for them has grown exponentially each day. Our residents are assisted by volunteers in a variety of ways, and our daily Mass at Villa is among the facets of our ministry where our volunteers are instrumental.

Chatting with Larry Collett, a long-time Villa volunteer, I wanted to know what inspires him.

“I attended Mass with my aunt for four years at Villa St. Francis and formed a connection with the residents that inspired me to volunteer,” he said.

“I really enjoy giving to the residents, but I found out that I received a lot!” he added. “I love seeing them smile and laugh, temporarily releasing them from the seriousness of their infirmity. I can’t wait to go back every day!”

Our home care and hospice volunteers are equally instrumental in helping us carry out Jesus’ healing mission to those in need, offering companionship, prayers and much more.

Barb Trum has been praying with those in their last days for years.

“It’s a beautiful ministry,” she said. “I love being able to hold someone’s hand, speaking with them, but really just getting them home to heaven. Seeing the calm that comes over someone as we pray the Divine Mercy chaplet is beautiful and you can feel Jesus’ presence with them as they’re passing away.”

In the past year, hundreds of men and women have offered thousands of hours of time to help us care for those in need. This great gift provides both a tremendous service to those in our care and a tremendous savings as we seek to care for all those in need regardless of their ability to pay.

If you’re looking for a way to give back this Lent, I invite you to join us as a volunteer at Catholic Community Health. We are proudly Kansas City’s only Catholic home care and hospice, and you can help us carry out Christ’s healing mission. We have many volunteer opportunities. Learn more and apply online at:

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Brad Heidrick

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