For over two thousand years, men of good will have celebrated the birth of our Divine Savior. Members and friends of Tradition Family Property Student Action joined in that celebration in a very special way this December.
Christmas is undeniably an occasion of tremendous joy. Like many harmonizing notes on a score of music, a universe of little details makes it an unforgettable remembrance of Our Lord’s birth. What comes to mind is the beauty of midnight Mass, families getting together, old friends meeting again, gift giving, grudges that vanish, fireplaces that crackle, the aroma of fresh pine, and a blanket of pure white snow.
However, many people suffering in hospitals and nursing homes faintly remember the joy of Christmas. Illness, pain and loneliness overwhelm them as they spend their last years, months and days. Hence the wisdom of the Church in encouraging visits to the infirm, making it a corporal work of mercy.
“He who sings, prays twice.”
St. Augustine once said, “he who sings, prays twice.” With this in mind, a group of young TFP members set out on December 15, trekking through the snow, songbooks in hand, to visit the sick and elderly in several nursing homes in Hanover, Penn.
“You can tell some of these elderly people have no one to visit them. It’s very unfortunate,” said TFP volunteer James Slobodnik. “That’s why I think it’s so important that we take time to visit them and sing Christmas carols for them. It cheers them up when they see young faces that care about them.”
Caroling is a way of communicating and sharing the joy of Christmas. In fact, few things capture the Christmas spirit better than “Silent Night,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Joy to the World” and so many other beautiful carols.
James Bascom, 19, remarked how “many of the patients in these nursing homes are very ill, with little time left to live. They can’t go home for Christmas or visit family, and that must be depressing. So when we visit them and sing, they’re delighted of course. Really, it’s an act of charity.”
In our modern society, no insurance policy can substitute the warmth of human charity. And it was precisely that personal touch of charity that impressed people the most as TFP members went from home to home, singing and giving away holy cards of the Holy Family and St. Joseph.
“It was my first time caroling and I really enjoyed it. The patients were extremely grateful. I never imagined they would like our singing so much,”.
TFP member John Miller said, “the patients kept repeating “Thank you”. Some were even moved to tears. And I realized how much good it does for them to see visitors. I hope to go caroling again next year.”
John Miller’s older brother James thought it was awesome. “We should do it again. One lady told me she thought we were angels when she heard us singing in the hallway,” he said.
On the way home that cold winter night, TFP volunteers unanimously agreed how important it was to visit the sick and the elderly. Nursing home staff members deeply appreciated it and extended the invitation to return. Therefore, TFP Student Action hopes to continue sharing the joy of Christmas for many years to come.