Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
February 2, 2009
Prayer shawl ministry gives creative, prayerful gifts to those in need
To date, the Good Shepherd women have crafted 275 prayer shawls.
BY CECILE GANNON
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
EDMONTON ó A group of ladies from Good Shepherd Parish are sharing their time, talent and treasures in an exciting and rewarding ministry called the prayer shawl ministry.
There is no fee to join, you can work at home in your spare time, or you may choose to be involved in various ways. It is a ministry of prayer and love.
A presentation by Rita Atkinson from St. Edmundís Parish motivated Good Shepherd to get involved and embrace the ministry.
A SHARED MINISTRY
Since 2006, Good Shepherd and St. Edmund have continued to help and inspire other councils in the archdiocese ó St. Thomas More, St. Charles, Holy Family in St. Albert, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help ó who have now endorsed this rapidly spreading ministry.
The prayer shawl ministry in Good Shepherd Parish is coordinated through the Catholic Womenís League and all ladies in the parish are welcome to join.
Volunteers sign up and, if they enjoy knitting or crocheting, they choose a simple pattern provided to make a shawl. While they are stitching with yarn and needles in hand, they offer prayers for the recipient of this shawl.
The shawl is made following a repetitive pattern of stitches in groups of three, symbolic of the three persons in the Holy Trinity. The finished shawl measures about the length of a personís arms outstretched from wrist to wrist and about 20 inches wide made from yarns of various colours and textures.
After a shawl is completed, it is turned in to the parish office, a little cross and bookmark prayer are attached to it, it is blessed. Shawls may be presented as gifts: to someone who is sick or terminally ill, as an anniversary or wedding gift, to someone expecting a baby or for other special occasions.
We do not sell the shawls but donations are accepted to offset the costs of keeping the ministry operating.
In just a couple of years the Good Shepherd ladies have made more than 275 shawls, with about 200 presented or mailed away. Council members meet once a month to share ideas, pray and socialize and hear stores like these.
A parishioner presented a shawl to their children who were expecting twins during a high-risk pregnancy. While making the shawl, prayers were offered for the safe arrival of healthy twins and the health of the mother.
When the mother entered the hospital early she took her prayer shawl along. While the babies were delivered prematurely by Caesarian section, she prayed and clung to a small memento she removed from the shawl and held in her hand.
The twins arrived safely, one weighing slightly over two pounds and the other barely three pounds.
Their prayers were answered; the motherís health recovered and the tiny babies remained in the hospital getting stronger every day while she took turns draping the prayer shawl over their incubators for 55 days.
SUCH A COMFORT
Two ladies from our parish visited an interesting lady from our council after she moved into a seniors complex and presented her with a prayer shawl. She was delighted with her prayer shawl. We continued to visit her until she died a few months later. Her family chose to have buried with her prayer shawl.