The Priest Emergency Service of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, Argentina is inviting priests and lay people to join their volunteer team, which offers nighttime pastoral service for the sick.

Each night between 9:30 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., a group of lay volunteers and a priest are available to accompany the sick who call upon them. Their service includes offering the sacraments, as well as prayer and accompaniment.

The ministry began in 1954 and is headquartered in Buenos Aires. The headquarters has a chapel, a room in which to wait for phone calls, a kitchen and two bedrooms — one for the lay people and the other one for the priest.

Each night begins with a prayer and then volunteers are available to take phone calls. People often call for prayers or to talk about their problems and afflictions with someone from the Church. 

One of the volunteers also takes care of driving the priest to the place where a sick person is to be visited.

In addition, they pray at wakes or in homes where a person has just died.

In a recent letter, the Priest Emergency Service thanked the priests who are already are involved in the ministry for their generous service.

However, the service noted that more volunteers are needed, as “there are no priests for the overnights for the first and third Saturdays and the second Sundays of the even months.”

“Our days are long and tiring, but the laity look forward to this… apostolate to pray with the sick and chat with the priests,” the letter said.

“We thank God for this free volunteer service that throughout so many years accompanies during the nights those who expect the presence of the Church with every phone call.”

Currently the Priest Emergency Service is provided in 17 cities throughout the country.

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa.  It has been translated and adapted by CNA.