These individuals serve Christ who is present in the assembly by ministering his Body and Blood to their sisters and brothers. They also serve the Body of Christ by taking Communion to those members who, through sickness, old age, or other causes are prevented from taking part in the Mass. In accord with a most ancient tradition, it is most appropriate for Communion to be taken directly from the Sunday Eucharist to the sick and those unable to leave their homes.
When one member of the Body of Christ is unable to celebrate fully at Sunday liturgy due to sickness or advanced age, the entire community should be informed so that prayers and works of charity can be done on their behalf. The Eucharistic Minister becomes a vital link between the parish community and the member who is hospitalized or homebound.
NOTE: All Eucharistic Ministers to the sick and home- bound are to have level-two background screening, which includes fingerprinting, and they must complete the Safe Environment Program for Eucharistic Ministers to the Sick/Homebound & Pastoral Care Providers that is provided by the Diocese.
It is desirable that visits to the sick and homebound occur after a Sunday Mass so the link between the parish celebration and the sick person is maintained. The same is true following a weekday celebration, provided the parish has enough ministers. When Communion is taken from Mass to the sick or homebound, the appropriate moment for the deacon, acolyte, or Eucharistic Ministers to leave is after the Communion of the people.
We welcome you to this parish ministry. You are a valuable, caring minister to our ill and homebound parish community, as you extend the Body of Christ to those who are unable to join us at Mass. Suffering and illness have always been among the greatest problems that trouble the human body and spirit. When a person is seriously ill, he or she is often confused, afraid, and lonely — even in the midst of family members and friends. Yet it is often in these moments of loneliness and fear, that the Lord speaks to us, comforts us, and assures us that He is near. As Christians, our faith helps us to grasp more deeply the mystery of suffering and to bear our pain with greater courage.
Since the creation of the early Church, Christians have always prayed for and with the sick — praying for healing, for strength, and for courage in the face of physical difficulties. When someone becomes seriously ill, regardless of his or her age, they are vulnerable, and often feel frightened and alone.
Yet the Lord is especially near to those in need—those who suffer. He hears their cry and is their comfort: “Come to me, you who labor and find life burdensome, and I will give you rest…” We know from the Gospels, that Christ himself often visited and healed the sick and loved them in their illness. Therefore, we believe that the Lord is ever present to the sick, in part, through the prayers of the Church and through the Sacrament of the Anointing of the sick through your visits.
The model of the Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion is one of a servant of God, ministering to the parish, which is the Body of Christ—the Church. We follow the example of the Apostles, who fed the five thousand. We do this by distributing the Eucharist to those present at our Eucharistic Celebrations.
Prayer for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to the Sick and Homebound
My Lord and Sustainer of All Beings,
I am in your Sacred Presence
about to take the Bread of Life to those who are unable to attend the communal celebration of the Eucharist.
It will be my honor to carry Christ to them.
Bless my hands that they may be
fitting instruments of this Holy Visitation.
Bless my heart, that I may truly carry the Bread of Life to those whose spirits are in need.
May my attitude, my reverence, and
my concern for both the spiritual and material needs of those whom I shall visit, be that of Your divine heart.
I ask this in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, whose Body and Blood I shall carry;
He who lives with You and the Holy Spirit forever and ever.