Father Ferrnando Carranza, Rector of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Dallas, provides care for his elderly parents there in the Seminary. While he has a team of caregivers working 24/7, he is still ultimately the primary caregiver. The Seminarians also enjoy contributing to their care. Although caregiving and his work can be stressful, he says the Lord sustains him.
His 86 year old father, Daniel, has Parkinson’s disease and has had a stroke. His 87 year old mother, Maria, is in the last stage of Alzheimer’s disease. Despite Daniel’s medical condition, Father Carranza says that his father is at peace. Daniel’s mind is still working, and he is happy. Father says, “God has made Himself known to him, and peace is one of God’s gifts to him.” He continues, “It is amazing the love God has for us, especially for those who are suffering, and how God provides for us.” In many ways, he has never seen his father happier – he has the joy of a child and a heart as simple.
Even his mother with Alzheimer’s has moments of happiness, and Father treasure those times. While her illness causes her to be been confused, angry, and violent, she has moments of peace. At one point she stopped eating and sleeping and had a psychotic episode. After a trip to the Emergency Room, they were able to balance her medication. So now there is a new normal. While she doesn’t speak English, she loves to sing along during the Masses at the Seminary, and that is encouraging to Father.
While the doctors recommended Hospice several years ago, Father has let nature take its course. “It is amazing what love can do,” says Father. His deep faith brings him peace and gratitude.
- His profound faith.
- Having people to talk to and confide in.
- His team of caregivers.
The chorus of the song “You are Mine” by David Haas seemed appropriate for this situation:
“Do not be afraid, I am with you. I have called you each by name. Come and follow Me. I will bring you home. I love you, and you are mine.” The following Bible verses fit with the theme of this song:
Isaiah 41:13 For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you.
Isaiah 43:1 Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
Jeremiah 29:10 Then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again.
Dear Father, help us to appreciate how well You take care of us. Your peace and love surround us. Help us to appreciate the joys and blessings of old age as they are part of life and be grateful for the time we have with our loved ones.