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Sundays at CHOP

By Katherine Yeagley


About two years ago I decided that I wanted to get more involved at Church. Call it Catholic

guilt or true yearning for lost connection to my Catholic upbringing, I decided to sign up to

administer the Eucharist to those who were unable to make it to Church on Sunday. The people

I serve are either there because they are a patient and physically incapacitated or they are

there because their child, sister, brother, niece, nephew is hospitalized. I also feel the need to

stress that this is not a huge time commitment. This is something I do every month and it takes

about an hour of my Sunday. This small responsibility has meant so much to me and I write

about it here because many people don’t have the opportunity or honor of being invited into

such an intimate space. As I get permission to enter a child’s hospital room, I internally

recognize this privilege. I am seeing these strangers in an extremely vulnerable position. Some

are not entirely clothed and others are in visible pain. It’s not always comfortable and there

have been times when I question why I continue to do it. I’m not a great Catholic. I haven’t

been to church in months, to be honest. I have had my qualms with my own strict upbringing

and there are a lot of things I disagree with. However, at the end of the day, I know firsthand

the amazing calming power that religion can have. The beauty of ritual and the familiar in a

place where everything you know has been turned on its head is so valuable. As I watch a

nervous father and his young son who is too young and innocent to have already experienced

the trials of chemotherapy and hospitalization I feel such an immense swell of gratitude. I

recognize that this may come off to some as patronizing and to others, it may seem cliché. But

if anyone is looking for something to bring more meaning to their days, there are opportunities

out there. They may be uncomfortable at first and they might not be always convenient, but

they are often worth it.

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