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NewBridge Resident Creates Volunteer Opportunity as Eucharistic Minister

Sharon Gouveia puts her parish work into action at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Dedham.
Eucharistic Minister Sharon Gouveia on the left with HRC patient Leona, who receives regular visits.

Shortly after moving to Dedham, MA senior living community NewBridge on the Charles in 2014, Sharon Gouveia was thrilled to discover there was a need for her religious services on the campus.

For a good part of her adult life, Sharon had been actively involved in her parish work and served as a Eucharistic Minister. Prior to moving to NewBridge, she distributed Holy Communion to patients at Mount Auburn Hospital. 

“I am delighted to be able to continue in a very familiar role at NewBridge and serve fellow Christians,” says Sharon.

Sharon met Rabbi Karen Landy, who oversees religious services at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Dedham, and a couple of months after moving in began serving as a Eucharistic Minister. “Rabbi Karen told me of the need and right away I wanted to get involved.”

Sharon with Leona“On Sunday mornings I go to Mass at St. Susanna Church in Dedham and get the hosts. From there I visit the patients at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center on the NewBridge campus and bring them Holy Communion. It’s a role I had been doing for such a long time and it made sense that I would take this on.”

“Spending time with the patients gives me so much satisfaction. I develop relationships with the patients and I know something about them and their families. I see the patients at HRC from one week to the next, and it’s a great way to begin the week. They have been very welcoming to me and allow me to become part of their lives in this very special way.”

On a recent Sunday morning, patients awaited Sharon’s visit. Leona was dressed and sitting in her room, watching the Mass at the Vatican on the television. A smile came across her face as Sharon knocked on the partially open door. The two women, like good friends, hugged.  

As a member of a small Christian community within a larger community, Sharon finds that volunteering helps her establish meaningful relationships. Her weekly visits help her connect with patients and share a special bond.

“I’m doing something that makes me very happy and hopefully brings joy to the patients who cannot go outside to church to receive Communion,” says Sharon.

Sharon with Ann

When Sharon stopped by to visit Ann, she found Ann’s family visiting. “It’s not uncommon for family to visit on a Sunday. When this happens I get to meet a patient’s family and learn more about them. They share so much with me.” 

Visits can range from a few minutes to half an hour. According to Sharon it all depends on what the patient has planned. “Before receiving Holy Communion we put ourselves in God’s presence and say the Lord’s Prayer. I believe that the patients are grateful and comforted by the opportunity for prayer and receiving Communion.”

Interested in volunteering? We have many rewarding volunteer opportunities available at HRC in Boston and at NewBridge on the Charles in Dedham. Contact our Volunteer Department at (617) 363-8421 or click here to see opportunities available across our organization.  

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