We walked a block and a half up Eighth Avenue and rang the bell. A Burmese family, who had been Buddhist but now Catholic for some years, graciously received us into their main room. They had set up a cloth, candles, and crucifix. I was surprised to see that they had placed Grandmother’s bed, not in a back room, but in their main room. She was bedridden, but she was still integral to the family’s bustling life, and a source of grace for her children and grandchildren. Our spiritual father, Archbishop Cordileone, opened the ritual and began the prayers. They were simple prayers, not spoken with any particular emphasis, but full of health and grace when spoken by a priest, especially by a successor of the Apostles. He bent down to anoint her forehead, and she smiled. He placed the Body of Christ on her tongue, and she closed her eyes.
Nothing in an episcopal visit compares with leading your spiritual father to the sick of your parish. I will always love my Archbishop for these moments with the sick, these saints of our parish.