While in Pinellas Park, I met Tracie. She was a volunteer working with the Schindler family. I’m not sure exactly in what ways she helped but I’m certain she was a great encouragement and support to them. She spent five weeks there working for the family.
I was introduced to Tracie by someone who knew she was also Anglican. Tracie had been at the site almost every hour of four weeks and had not been able to receive Holy Communion. Monsignor Malanowski had celebrated Mass with the family and various protesters but Tracie had not been able to participate because she was not Roman Catholic. I enjoyed meeting her and her parents, who happened to be with her at the time.
On the evening of Good Friday, the one day of the year when Eucharist is not normally celebrated, I led a small group in a service of Holy Eucharist on the grass in front of Woodside Hospice. I believed the situation we faced was sufficient cause to give thanks to God. Tracie was able to receive the grace of God in the Body and Blood of our Lord. Thomas Bowman, the minstrel from Kentucky, was present and led us in a few songs accompanied by his acoustic guitar. My travelling companions, Steve and Jeff, joined in worship; along with the other kind souls who participated, we meditated on the Passion of our Savior.
When we had finished, after many tears and several moments of reflection, Tracie bid us all to remember to pray, not only for Terri, but also for the Schindlers. She briefly conveyed how the weight of this horrific event was a heavy burden for Terri’s parents. She also told us of how Mr. Schindler had experienced a heart attack a few days after the last time Terri had been starved (for six days).
I am pleased to see that the Schindlers expressed their great appreciation for the volunteers like Tracie. There were many more like her who helped the family members through a time of great turmoil. May God strengthen the Schindler family and may he reward Tracie and the other volunteers for their service in his kingdom.