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Worshipers ask for increased faith at Mass for Anointing of the Sick

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“Did you ever notice the miracles of the Gospel … how the evangelist spends little time emphasizing the physical cure? The real emphasis is on the faith of the recipients,” said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge in his homily at the annual Mass of the Anointing of the Sick.

An estimated 400 people with seen and unseen ailments received the sacrament of anointing at St. Ambrose Church in Annandale March 18. Attendees wore Miraculous Medals given by the Knights and Dames from the Northern Virginia Region of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Malta, Federal Association, USA. The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge and concelebrated by Bishop Emeritus Paul S. Loverde.

CONNOR BERGERON  |  CATHOLIC HERALDIn his homily, Bishop Burbidge mentioned that Bishop Loverde will accompany the Knights and Dames of Malta on their pilgrimage to Lourdes.
“We’re not at Lourdes today, but we’re in this church where we’ll celebrate the Holy Eucharist and the sacrament of anointing,” said Bishop Burbidge. “In a special way today, we pray for those who will soon be anointed, and we pray for our friends and family members who are seriously ill and are unable to be here today.”

In each healing miracle of Jesus, He asks the person do they believe He can heal them, said Bishop Burbidge. When they answer “yes,” Jesus always responds, “It is your faith that has saved you.”

“So with one voice today, we pray, ‘Lord, increase our faith,’ ” said Bishop Burbidge.

After his homily, Bishop Burbidge, Bishop Loverde, Father Andrew J. Fisher, pastor of St. Ambrose, Father Christopher H. Hayes, parochial vicar of St. Ambrose, and Father Stefan Starzynski, in residence at St. Ambrose, dispersed into the pews to lay their hands on people seeking the sacrament. 

The bishops and priests came to the center of the church and prayed over the holy oil. Anointing each other, they returned to the pews, and anointed the foreheads and palms of the people. 

Cheryl March, a parishioner of Sacred Heart Church in Manassas, received the sacrament of anointing with her 18-month-old son, Lucas. March said they came because Lucas was diagnosed with a tumor. They are hopeful as they prepare for his surgery.


Attendees ate lunch, served by the Knights and Dames of Malta, in the parish hall.

“Bishop Loverde is awesome — walking through the pews like that,” said Dottie Woisard, a parishioner of St. Theresa Church in Ashburn, who has cancer. She said that when the bishop anointed her hands she held tightly, lingering before he moved to the next person. 


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017