A new Square and a Prayer Ministry through the Office of Faith Events provides comfort and solace to shut-ins and those in medical facilities throughout the diocese. The idea for the ministry came from Alice Pelletier, a lifelong knitter and secretary to Bishop Cote. Her original design of a three-inch knitted square is coupled with an inspirational prayer to spread love and hope to those who need encouragement during the pandemic.
Squares are bagged individually to be kept sanitary for distribution to rehabilitation centers and medical centers around the diocese. The prayer accompanying each square reads: “This prayer square was made especially for you with the love, hope, and prayers of the Norwich Diocesan community. During this time of uncertainty and fear, may this square be a reminder that God’s love is constant, and you are never alone. Carry this square with you so it is close at hand to hold as you move forward in this world.”
As the ministry developed, over a dozen volunteers across the diocese answered the call to contribute their time and yarn to make hundreds of prayer squares to send to waiting hands. They were joined by members of four parish prayer shawl groups from St. Mary Parish, Groton; St. Theresa Parish, Pomfret, Putnam, North Grosvenordale and Quinebaug; Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Quaker Hill; and St. Mary Parish, Clinton.
Volunteer Nina Romero-Caron put her own unique spin on the squares, making hundreds of multi-colored granny squares. She was also instrumental in delivering square and prayer packages to facilities in the Quiet Corner, in northeastern Connecticut.
Rehabilitation and medical centers that have received the prayer squares include: Matulaitis Nursing Home, Putnam; Pierce Care, Brooklyn; Bayview Rehabilitation, Niantic; Norwichtown Rehabilitation Center, Norwich Hospice, and Backus Hospital in Norwich; Chestelm Rehabilitation Center, Moodus; Atria at Crossroads, Waterford; Apple Rehabilitation, Old Saybrook; Day Kimball Hospital, Putnam; Backus Emergency Center, Plainfield; and St. Joseph Living Center, Windham.
Sister Rita Johnson, director of Ministry to the Sick at Backus Hospital, is enthusiastic about the response from patients who have received them. “The prayer squares went like hotcakes and we will continue to distribute as many prayer squares as we can get, especially in the hospice ward at the hospital,” she said.
Mary Brown, who received squares at her facility, added, “The square is a comfort in the hand as it is also to the heart and spirit.”
Marie Sola, recreation director of Chestelm Rehabilitation Center, Moodus, remarked, “The squares arrived at the most perfect time with all that is going on in the world today. The squares are bringing comfort to the staff as well as the residents.”
Additionally, through a donation by volunteer Dennis Chopp, the ministry was able to distribute 25 prayer shawls. Beth Ann Heath, director of Recreation Services at Norwichtown Rehabilitation, Norwich, upon receiving the shawls said, “Yes! Prayer shawls. They are always welcomed and so cherished and enjoyed by our residents.”
The Square and a Prayer Ministry will continue to reach out to those who need a little extra hope, love and prayers. If you would like more information on volunteering for this ministry, please contact Marianne at email@example.com or at 860-848-2237, extension 304.
By Marianne Nicholas