Vieda Baker, Class of 2016, Marylhurst UniversityVieda Baker ’16, Master of Divinity, volunteers at Veterans Hospital, offering communion and other blessings to those in need.

Vieda Baker, a cantor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Aloha, travels the roads that wind up “pill hill” in southwest Portland to get to the city’s Veterans Hospital on Wednesdays. She and Perri Pitman Parker, a parishioner at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, have worked together for years now, and they always begin their volunteer time in the chapel.

Baker, who has a master’s of divinity through Marylhurst, and Parker, who describes herself as an “accidental minister,” make a good team.

Most days they take their list of names, Catholics who may wish to receive the Eucharist, and make their way through the clean and friendly wards at the hospital.

Many patients don’t want Communion. Baker says that during training they were told to never take that personally. Patients cannot say no very often; it could be that the patient felt the need to say no even more than they needed Christ at that moment.

Parker and Baker have other graces to offer — a small paper with the act of contrition typed on it; finger rosaries, even full rosaries.

When Parker says that there are times someone needs someone to hold their hand, it’s no metaphor. She vividly remembers the time a patient, surrounded with medical personnel, was clearly terrified. She took his hand and he calmed.

This news item is an excerpt from an article by Kristen Hannum published in the Catholic Sentinel Aug. 11, 2016. » Read the full article on

Vieda Baker earned her Master of Divinity (M.Div.) from Marylhurst University in 2016.