Living the Faith: Patricia Archfield

WILMINGTON -- For Patricia Archfield, being a nurse in a major Boston hospital is not just a job-- it’s a calling.

“Every day in my morning prayers I pray that the Lord gives me compassion with the patients I will encounter,” she said during a recent interview.

As a nurse in charge of placing peripherally inserted central catheters, or PICC lines, into patients who need prolonged intravenous access, Archfield feels fortunate that she gets to spend a considerable amount of time with her patients.

“Sometimes I feel like I am the lifeline of the patient,” she said. “And I love that, having this job, I really get to speak to my patients -- even share my faith with some of them.”

For Archfield, 66, living out her Catholic faith is something she has always taken very seriously.

Originally from Pennsylvania, she has been a parishioner at St. Thomas of Villanova Church in Wilmington since 1973. Never married, Archfield says her faith is her “stronghold.”

“To me the most important thing about my faith is the Eucharist,” she said. “I hope that people see that faith is alive in me, that God is inside of me.”

Archfield considers St. Thomas’s as her “second home.”

“I think this is a very giving parish and that people really live out their Christ-like life,” she said proudly. “We just open out hearts to everybody.”

She praised her pastor, Father Philip Earley.

“He just sets the tone of the entire parish,” she said.

Archfield is involved in her parish in a host of ways. She is the head of the Liturgy Committee; she is a member of the parish council; she helps decorate the church; and she volunteers as a parish nurse, taking people’s blood pressure once a month. Together with her sister, who is also a parishioner, she organizes volunteers to bring Holy Communion to the sick and homebound of the community.

Archfield is also involved in a “Wine, Women and Song” ministry. According to Archfield, once a month a group of women from the parish get together for an opportunity to socialize, pray and discuss the faith.

“It’s great to pray at the parish, “she explained, “but sometimes it’s really important to pray together with other women.”

“This has been a very positive experience,” stated Archfield.

Another program close to her heart is the parish’s “Lenten Gospel Giving” program. Each week during Lent, parishioners are asked to bring in a specific item inspired by the Sunday Gospel reading to donate to the needy.

“For example,” described Archfield, “if the Gospel says that ‘man must not live on bread alone,’ we are asked to bring in one loaf of bread to donate to a local food pantry.”

As the coordinator of the program, Archfield helps choose the weekly donation item and makes sure it is listed in the prior week’s bulletin so that all the parish’s families have a chance to participate.

“I think that this pulls us together as a parish,” she said. “There are so many people who donate items -- from the young to the very old. It just seems to lift the people’s spirits up.”

“This is really my passion,” added Archfield.

St. Thomas of Villanova Parish, Wilmington

Year established -- 1919

Pastor -- Father Philip Earley

Parochial Vicar -- Father Paul Flammia

Deacon -- Clifford King

Music Director -- Lori Tamaghine

Religious Education Director -- Marilyn Mandosa

Religious Education Administrator -- Dorothy Barker

Parish Secretary -- Patricia Worthington