Can Prayer Heal – St. Ambrose Catholic Church, an Endicott, NY house of worship held an interfaith prayer service to celebrate Thanksgiving and to promote healing from the flood. Under a sky-blue ceiling and light-catching stained glass windows, those who attended the service were able to find service meant to life the spirit.
“This is a chance to bring faith communities together in the same recovery process that’s going on,” said St. Ambrose Catholic Church Deacon Tom Picciano.
At least 30 parishioners from the church, including those in Owego, Vestal and Endicott, were affected by the flooding in early September. Those who have been through such hardship can have a lot of feelings, including anger and depression that can be relieved with prayer, Picciano said. The Sunday service offers individuals a chance to offer thanks as well as heal.
“It’s kind of a release that way,” Picciano said.
The Sunday service included speakers from St. Ambrose as well as the Rev. Sue Davis, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Endicott, and the Rev. John Martinichio, pastor of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Endicott. The afternoon ceremony offered song, scripture and the release of incense to help prayers travel to God, Picciano said.
“We wanted to do something a bit earlier, but this is the time it worked out to,” he said. “It’s an invitation that’s been out in the community for several weeks.”
Claims that prayer, divine intervention, or the ministrations of an individual healer can cure illness have been popular throughout history. Miraculous recoveries have been attributed to many techniques commonly lumped together as “faith healing”. It can involve prayer, a visit to a religious shrine, or simply a strong belief in a supreme being.