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Parish Staff at St John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church
Rev. Lawrence Schulmeister, OFMWeekend Celebrant
HNP Today: April8, 2002
Father Lawrence Schulmeister was once asked to baptize a baby.A few months before, Father Schulmeister had comforted the baby's father as he left this world after a sudden accident.As a chaplain at R. Adams Crowley Shock Trauma at the University of Maryland Medical Center in downtown Baltimore, Father Schulmeister is often called upon to provide special and urgent ministry to patients and families in sudden need.Often the initial ministry is to the family of the patient.With the doctors and nurses busy treating the injured person, they aren't available to talk with the family so Father Schulmeister goes on rounds in the trauma emergency room on weekday afternoons."It helps that someone is with them," Father Schulmeister said, noting that he tries to get a sense of what needs the families have"WHAT'S PROBABLY UNIQUE or special about Trauma is that the patients who come here for the most part are patients who weren't sick before but now are suddenly critically ill, and that's difficult for a lot of people to deal with," Father Schulmeister said.He is called upon for comfort, presence and prayer but also to "relieve guilt" by imparting forgiveness or reassuring a patient when they think the accident happened because of something they did wrong in the past.Father Schulmeister can encourage them and also give them the opportunity to go to confession, something that often becomes "very meaningful" during a time of distress, he said.Confession is just one part of anointing of the sick, "prayers of hope and comfort" that a priest says over a sick person.Anointing of the sick was once referred to as "last rites" or "extreme unction" and sometimes only asked for by families when someone was at death's door.Even now, Father Schulmeister said, families are sometimes hesitant to ask for a priest, thinking that his presence means that death is imminent.But anointing of the sick is made up of prayers for healing, forgiveness and commendation to God's care and can be used for anyone who is seriously ill.MOST OF THE PATIENTS at Shock Trauma have been in accidents or are victims of violence, and all are "critically injured."Father Schulmeister is given a list of patients listed as Catholic and also gets referrals from other chaplains, nurses and doctors. The Franciscan priest, who is also a weekend assistant at St. John the Evangelist in Severna Park and a professor at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland in Baltimore, emphasized that his ministry is just "a piece" of the patients' recovery process, which also includes the resources of their home parish community.Because of patient confidentiality, Father Schulmeister can't tell specific stories about what he's seen at Shock Trauma.But in general he said that in his 21 years as a chaplain, he's seen a lot of sorrow, hope and, even though he's reluctant to use the word miracle, what he calls "amazing turnarounds."One that he remembers is a 17-year-old girl who was very critically injured, and her chances of recovering, medically speaking, were extremely slim.The family was very prayerful and never let go of hope.And one day when Father Schulmeister went in to visit her, there was a glimmer of hope.She went on to make a full recovery.Asked how he handles such an emotionally demanding ministry, Father Schulmeister said, "I'd rather be doing this than something less significant or less emotional.When I leave the hospital, I don't forget it immediately, but I forget it soon ...I need to leave it."Friar WorksRINGWOOD
Transitions | HNP Today newsletter: June 17, 2009, Vol. 43, No. 12 | Communications | Holy Name Province
• Lawrence Schulmeister, OFM, of Baltimore, has changed his name to John, his baptismal name, effective May 15.
Larry and Julian for covering the sacramental needs of the parish while we were away.Fr. Larry Schulmeister, OFM and newly ordained Fr. Julian Jagudilla, OFM will cover Masses and respond to the sacramental needs of the parish in our absence.
Larry Schulmeister, OFM