'Sick Calls'

John Francis Maguire
1868
CHAPTER I (12) start of chapter

Perhaps the hardest and most trying duty which a Catholic clergyman has to discharge is connected with what are so well known to laity and clergy as 'sick calls,' requests made by the relatives or friends of the sick or dying for the attendance of a priest. From this duty the Catholic priest never shrinks. It matters not what the distance, the hour, or the danger, though the sick or dying person was a hundred miles away, though it was midnight, and there was not a star visible in the heavens—though the place to be visited reeked with the deadliest pestilence, the priest should at once obey the solemn summons. The priest who shrinks from this imperative duty is unfit for his mission; happily, an instance of neglect or cowardice is rarely heard of in the Catholic Church. But there are circumstances in which the conscientious discharge of this duty is attended with an amount of individual hardship that can scarcely be appreciated by those who inhabit a country at once thoroughly cultivated and thickly populated.