ISITING THE SICK is a very important part of the ministry of a Catholic priest. Last Sunday, I visited the hospital with the bishop and seminarians of Macau. Fr. Law, a priest who was in the hospital for three weeks, is 83 years old and has been sick for 18 years. Fr. Law is a church historian and the dean of the cathedral chapter (canons, which, by the way, can only be found in two places in Asia: the Diocese of Macau and the Archdiocese of Manila).
We were told, before our visit, that Fr. Law wasn’t doing too well, he was loosing his memory and his mind was clouded. But that was not the case when we get to the hospital, he was awake and he recognized the bishop right away. He was very happy to see us and welcomed us with his beautiful smile. After a little bit of chatting, the bishop suggested that we, the seminarians, sing Salve Regina for him. Fr. Law was very excited about the singing and started to make the Sign of the Cross so that we can begin our prayer to the Blessed Virgin together.
The miracle happened after the Salve Regina. Fr. Law’s memory came back suddenly and he started to tell stories and sing pieces of music that he used to taught in the seminary. He was the Gregorian chant and choral instructor at St. Joseph Seminary in Macau. Once we started singing in the hospital room, we couldn’t stop singing. We sang Ecce Sacerdos in the presence of the bishop, how appropriate is that! When we got to Cesar Franck’s Panis Angelicus, father even started singing in harmonies.
I don’t usually post stories like this one on the blog, but I think this amazing experience is worth sharing. This experience of mine proved that true sacred music brings hope and joy to the sufferings. This story shows how music can be connected deeply with our minds and souls. Fr. Law was discharged from the hospital two days later and his mind was cleared up after singing with us.