SHANELLE Bennett said she had the privilege to journey with a dying man in her work in pastoral care at Mercy Community Aged Care and had learned a great lesson from him.
On his last day, he confided his fears about death to her and asked if she thought he was going to heaven.
“I said, ‘John*, you are so loved by your God, let there be no doubt about that, you are going into His Loving arms and care, let go and let Him love you. Let Him be God’,” Mrs Bennett said.
He smiled at her and nodded.
“I said, ‘I have found God’s love in you, John Smith’, and he squeezed my hand and said, ‘And I have found the same in you, Shanelle Bennett’.”
Lent was a time to learn about how to die in the peace of God – this was the message of week six of Evangelisation Brisbane’s Lenten Program 2020, which had almost sold out.
Mrs Bennett’s sobering personal testimony joined six other stories over the weeks of Lent all under the theme, Be opened, which referenced the words Jesus spoke to the deaf and mute man when the man was healed.
This year’s program had one extra session for Easter Sunday.
EB project officer Rob Cosgrove said for the Easter Sunday session long-serving police officer Damian Harman generously gave a challenging and at times confronting window into his life and the obstacles and difficulties many men face in their spiritual journey.
Other personal testimonies included Centacare Brisbane’s Toni Janke, Evangelisation Brisbane’s Percy Pamo Lawrence and Jessica Laidler, Townsville Bishop Tim Harris and Brisbane Deacon Chad Hargrave.
To date, the Lenten Program 2020 has sold about 7500 books, 550 DVDs, 200 USBs, 80,000 prayer cards and more than 1000 weekly prayer sheets for staff, which were a new addition.
Resources were ordered from around Australia every year.
There had been orders from parishes in New Zealand to as far away as the United States.
Mr Cosgrove said country communities such as St Joseph’s at Condobolin, New South Wales, and St Joseph’s at Benalla, Victoria, looked forward to the Lenten program each year.
“No matter how remote is the community, these professionally produced resources – books, videos, music and audio recordings, prayer cards, app – provide a wonderful opportunity for local adult faith formation and education about the Scriptures,” he said.
Like last year, the Lenten Program was also available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
* John’s name was changed for privacy reasons.