Indian Catholics in Bloomington host Our Lady of Good Health celebration

The statue of Our Lady of Good Health is carried through St. Patrick Church of Merna in Bloomington by (clockwise from left) Rex Allwyn, Joe Anantham, Maria Jin Lazer and Jerald Andrews (partially obstructed). (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

BLOOMINGTON — In many ways, people who are sick have no more control over their illness than St. Patrick Church of Merna had over the rain that caused the cancellation of an outdoor eucharistic procession planned for the Feast of Our Lady of Good Health.

“I think the peace comes in recognizing, even in looking at today’s celebration, ‘Lord, I’m just going to do what I can. I’m going to do my best. I’m not in control, you are. So I’m just going to embrace where you have me and I’m going to be confident, absolutely confident, that you will give me the grace,’” said Father Dustin Schultz, pastor, during his homily.

Leoraj Joseph Roche and Auxilia Shrinee Leoraj take the opportunity to be close to Our Lady of Good Health (Vailankanni, India) with their daughters Sharandaa Leoraj and Sharinda Leoraj after Mass at St. Patrick Church of Merna in Bloomington on Sept. 12. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Planned by the Indian Catholics of Bloomington-Normal, the celebration of Our Lady of Good Health (Vailankanni, India) took place on Sept. 12. During Mass, the prayers of the faithful were offered in English and five regional Indian languages — Hindi, Konkani, Malayalam, Marathi and Tamil — by women wearing colorful saris.

At the end of the liturgy, the statue of Our Lady of Good Health, which is enthroned at St. Patrick Church of Merna, and the Blessed Sacrament were carried throughout the church while the rain continued to fall. Those who remained in the pews knelt and prayed the Glorious Mysteries of the rosary.

An act of consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Benediction and a blessing of the sick followed.

CONSOLATION AND HEALING

Illness may involve spiritual and emotional struggles, as well as physical struggles, Father Schultz acknowledged. But Mary stands ready to help, he said.

“As much as you worry and as much as you might be aware of your own ailment, how much more does the mother of God know it and unceasingly pray for you,” he said. “No matter what happens in life, we have that reality to lean on and we lean on that truth today.”

Father Schultz added that it is fitting that the statue of Our Lady of Good Health would be carried first in the procession since she would want people to focus on her Son in the Blessed Sacrament. He said Jesus, our eucharistic Lord, is a source of consolation and healing, now and forever.

The Feast of Our Lady of Good Health is observed near the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is Sept. 8. Next year’s celebration at St. Patrick Church of Merna is planned for Sept. 11.

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