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Kankakee Associates: Serving God and Others

Donna Wuhrer, Maria Cabello-Vazquez

Over a year ago, Associates from Kankakee, IL, decided to use their gifts of knitting and crocheting to start a Prayer Shawl Ministry at their parish. During that time, one of the candidates from their group became sick and started chemotherapy. The Kankakee Associates took turns accompanying her to her treatments. They gave her a prayer shawl and a hat to lift her spirits and to let her know she was not alone. As time went by, the candidate asked if the Prayer Shawl Ministry could make hats for other women that were receiving treatment at the cancer center. She said the warm hats that the center provided were welcomed but the patients found that they were itchy and uncomfortable. The Associates knew that they could help and started crocheting hats and shawls for women undergoing treatment at the center.

When the pandemic hit Illinois, all ministries and programs at the Kankakee parish were suspended. Unfortunately, the Associates could not meet with the Prayer Shawl Ministry nor could they continue formation for the Ministry of the Sick program with Fr. John at their parish. Fr. John knew the Associates and their desire to serve others. Once the restrictions were lifted in May, Fr. John had an idea. On his visits, he would take the prayer shawls with him and present them to people that were sick. When it was safe, Associates would accompany him. A partnership was created between Fr. John and the Associates to minister to the sick during and after the pandemic.

Each recipient receives a prayer shawl in a beautiful gift bag. A prayer to St. Marguerite Bourgeoys is included. The people who have received the gift bags have been very grateful for the prayers, the visit and the gift of the shawl. Some have sent notes of gratitude.

The Associates, the Prayer Shawl Ministry group and Fr. John inspire us to find creative ways to continue to serve others through and beyond the pandemic!



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