Next year’s Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy will be “a good occasion to intensify the collaboration between pastors and the laity in the mission of attending with affection and assisting with tenderness the sick and the dying.”
These were the words of Pope Francis in a letter sent to Manuel Martín Sjöberg, president of the President of the Federación de Servicios de sacerdotales Urgencia y Nocturno (Federation of Priestly Emergency Services). Founded in 1952 in the Argentinian city of Córdoba, the foundation sets out to help the faithful in areas where it is difficult to find a priest.
The Holy Father assured his support for the “work of Christian mercy that, for 60 years, has been made up of the volunteers of the Federation of Priestly Emergency Services.”
Speaking on those in need, the 78-year-old Pontiff asks that “our hands reach their hands so that they may feel the warmth of our presence, our friendship and brotherhood.”
“We cannot escape the words of the Lord according to which we’ll be judged. If we dedicate time to accompany the sick or the imprisoned, knowing that in each one of these are the ‘little ones,’ Christ Himself is present.”
Concluding his letter, Pope Francis encouraged “all those who perform that service” and he asked them to pray for him.
The Federation of Priestly Emergency Services is a free service offered by the Church to reach out to those most in need of sacraments during hours where it is difficult to find a priest. Their services are made up of a religious person and two to four lay people who between the hours of 9:30pm to 6:30am are awaiting phone calls to assist those in need of their services.