The National Library of Medicine recently published an article on the epidemic of depression as a disease of modernity. How disheartening! BUT If I told you that you that there is a new medication on the market that had no negative side effects, enhances your mental wellbeing, gives you higher happiness levels and a longer lifespan, lowers blood pressure and relieves stress, how much would you pay to get it? And what if I told you that it is completely FREE — and absolutely priceless?
That healing power is called volunteering! I am not joking. A 2020 study from the UK found that simply volunteering increases happiness along with all of those above stated benefits. The same study emphasized that people who volunteer at least monthly reported better mental health than less frequent volunteers. Being a volunteer can help reduce your risk of anxiety and depression, because when volunteering, the brain produces hormones, such as dopamine, that boost your mood.
Volunteering helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety; it combats depression; it hones skills and gives you a clearer purpose. So why not give of your time? The other priests and I write regular articles for the Family of Parishes, and I am writing this because ALL the family parishes need your help. On Sunday October 16 after Mass from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm we are doing a Volunteer Appreciation and Renewal event at the Cathedral. We’re planning a special coffee hour after Mass in appreciation for all that the volunteers at the Cathedral do for our parish as lay ministers, contributors, singers, pray-ers, organizers, leaders, thinkers, doers, and friends.
We will also be providing info on how to stay involved here at Blessed Sacrament with info on different ministries. Every parish has these kinds of opportunities. For instance, you could visit someone who is homebound. Don’t like that? You could help by calling them and be a listening ear. Do you like to attend liturgies? Since you are in the building already, you could be a lector, usher, altar server, sacristan, or a Eucharistic minister. Join your decorating committee and help make the space look beautiful for all the different liturgical seasons. Heck, help water plants or launder the liturgical linens. Are you currently in health care or a retired health professional? Get involved in your parish Health Program and help take blood pressures. Do you like working with kids? Be a Baptism Assistant, sew Baptismal Garments, or help with Children’s Liturgy. Are you a carpenter, plumber, electrician, or in heating or cooling? We can use you. Pull weeds, stuff bulletins, I don’t care what you do. . . we can use you! And best of all….. you will be happier for it. Thanks for considering.