Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Harris Hill and St. Stephen Church on Grand Island are two of the parishes that host healing Masses.
At Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the healing Mass offered grew out of the Charismatic movement of the 1960s. Those attending the healing Masses want to be with God and look for the Holy Spirit to intervene in their lives and to restore them to proper health.
"Every Mass is a healing Mass," said Father Daniel Ogbeifun, parochial vicar at Nativity.
He explained that healing Masses can be traced back to the time of Jesus Christ when in scripture Jesus asked for those who needed healing to come to him.
Father Ogbeifun conducts the ritual at the conclusion of Mass. The ritual includes the exposition of the Eucharist so those seeking healing may witness Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
Those seeking healing gather at the front of the altar and, one by one, Father Ogbeifun lays his hands on the forehead of each participant. During a recent healing Mass, several people collapsed as they were overcome by the Holy Spirit.
"The spirit has a way of working through people," Father Ogbeifun said. "God can change things."
At St. Stephen Church, the Mass is organized by the Friends of St. Peregrine, who is the patron saint of those suffering from cancer.
The group does not use the term "healing Masses."
"We specifically call it 'anointing of the sick' because a healing Mass could be an anointing of the sick or it could be a Charismatic healing," said Father David Bellittiere, spiritual advisor for the Friends of St. Peregrine.
To those attending the event, it feels like an ordinary Sunday Mass, Father Bellittiere said. He selects readings that have to do with healing, and prayer cards are distributed.
Despite the name, the Friends of St. Peregrine do not offer help to just those with cancer.
"Even though we are the Friends of St. Peregrine, Father has expanded it to life-threatening illnesses or any type of healing, whether it be mental, physical or spiritual," said Karen Scalia, a member of the Friends of St. Peregrine.
Unlike the healing Mass at Nativity, the anointing of the sick sacrament takes place during the Mass, right after the homily. Father Bellittiere rubs oil on the forehead of the afflicted and says the prayers prescribed by the sacrament.
"It's very inspirational," said Lynne Scalia, a member of the Friends of St. Peregrine. "When people come to our Masses, they have that inner peace when they leave."
One person who has gained that inner peace is Janet, who asked that her last name not be used. Janet had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer two years ago. Her daughter had found the Friends of St. Peregrine group and told Janet they were going.
"At first, I was a little like, 'What am I doing here?'" Janet said. "I don't belong with these people."
Over time, Janet noticed that a lot of the same people attend the Masses.
"It's comforting to know that everybody's kind of in the same boat and we're all praying for each other," she said.
Janet enjoys how Father Bellittiere conducts the Mass with a comical flair. She added that while Father does not make light of anyone's particular situation, he does make the environment feel lighter.
"He has everybody laughing during Mass," Janet said. "No one really expects to laugh."
While healing Masses and anointing of the sick Masses have different approaches, both have the same goal: to heal the afflicted.
Father Ogbeifun wants people who receive the healing to be restored. His hope is that people find healing because they are praying to God to answer their prayers.
Father Bellittiere seeks the same outcome.
"My goal is to get them close to the Christ," he said. "It's that God connection."