St Francis Xavier & St Clare

Catholic Parish of Greater Box Hill | In the Franciscan tradition

Ministry of Eucharist to the Sick

The liturgy of the Eucharist is never self-contained but in its deepest meaning reaches out to the entire world, to the feeding of the hungry and the healing of the afflicted. One of the most important commissions that Jesus gave to his disciples and to the church was to minister to the sick.
Those who carry Holy Communion to the sick and persons otherwise confined, continue the community’s act of worship, extending its embrace to include those unable to be physically present. The personal care and attention with which communion is extended to the confined is far more important than its frequency.
Familiarise yourself with the ordinary rite, and make it ‘your own’ not just a ritual to be performed.
Time should be taken to allow the sick person to share his or her insights into the mystery of Christ, insights born of loneliness and suffering. Then they will experience themselves not as objects of ministry, but as participants in a ministering community which honours the gifts of all.
Sunday is the day the church keeps sacred, the day we gather for the Eucharist. So if possible, the Word and Sacrament should be brought straight after Mass. Where it is not possible, communion can be taken from any Eucharist, at a time most convenient for the sick person.
The Eucharist bread should be carried in a Pyx or small closed container. Sufficient hosts should be taken for the communion of the sick and those who are caring for them.
It is desirable that there should be some table or other surface covered with a cloth upon which the Eucharist will be placed. The lighting of a candle is also encouraged.
Jesus comes to us in Word and Sacrament, so read the Gospel of the day, or some other appropriate Reading from Scripture, do not make it too long.
Normally communion is given in the form of the Eucharistic bread. Sometimes it is not possible for a sick person to consume a whole host, in which case a smaller piece should be given. Often the swallowing of the host is difficult, if so; ensure there is a glass of water handy for the person.
Include some prayer, even if it is only a phrase, e.g. ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’