First of all, I would like to thank every parishioner of Annunciation. To try and list everyone who helped Joyce would be pointless because literally every parishioner helped Joyce in some way.
First of all, a lot of parishioners were involved in cleaning out her rental apartment. Joyce had some sort of mental break when her mother died, and basically her apartment was frozen in time from when her mom died. As we were cleaning out her rental 7 or 8 years ago, We found a lot of cards from Joyce’s mom to Joyce with the “Hallmark Lady who was always saying inappropriate things, was always wearing a hat and a coat and smoking.” It occurred to me after seeing all of those cards that perhaps Joyce was in some way, in the deep recesses of her mind, keeping that connection to her mom alive by acting that character out every day, even though it got her thrown out of most of the establishments in Brazil!
The entire parish was involved because our St. Vincent DePaul Society paid for 3 dumpsters worth of trash to be hauled away from her apartment, parishioners helped mover her into the Brazil towers, parishioners straightened out her finances, parishioners did her legal work, parishioners helped her when it was time to move from Brazil towers to the nursing home, parishioners brought Joyce the Eucharist while she was in the nursing home.
Caring for Joyce Barrell is the single greatest act, on the part of a parish, that I have ever witnessed as a pastor.
And, in caring for Joyce, I think we all learned again the lesson that is all over the New Testament; caring for someone does not just help that person, and it is not just some tally mark that goes into our column only to be paid out to us at the Final Judgment; no, helping Joyce changed every single one of us, for the better, WHILE we were helping her.
Joyce Barrell, we will continue to pray for you. Please pray for us! Amen.
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