Sick and Homebound
Extra Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to the Sick and Homebound
There are members of our Parish who are not able to attend Mass to receive the Holy Eucharist or to actively participate in our church community. Some are confined to homes, nursing homes, hospitals, or other facilities due to health reasons, age, etc.
In bringing communion to them, our Homebound Ministers and Hospital Ministers represent Christ and manifest faith and charity on behalf of the whole community toward those who cannot be present at Mass. It is our responsibility to visit these parishioners periodically and to make the Holy Eucharist available to them as often as possible.
For the sick, the reception of communion is not only a privilege, but also a sign of support and concern shown by the Christian community for its members who are ill.
Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
Ministry to Sick and Homebound
Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHCs) who take Communion to the sick and homebound have a role in sharing the Church’s total ministry to the sick after the manner of Jesus. In bringing Communion to the sick and homebound, the EMHC represents Christ and manifests faith and charity on behalf of the whole community toward those who cannot be present at Sunday Mass. This ministry is a sign of support and concern shown by the community for its members.
The EMHC becomes a vital link between the St. Bart's community and our member who is sick or homebound. It is beneficial for visits to the sick and homebound to occur after Sunday Mass so that the link. Some parishes also have a special blessing and dismissal for EMHCs after Communion; the assembly is sending them forth to do their ministry on the behalf of the whole parish community. We shall consider this at St. Bart’s as time goes on.
EMHCs do not replace the ministry of the priest to the people, but rather extend and expand it so that all will have more regular contact with Christ in Holy Communion.
EMHCs who minister to the sick and homebound should be empathic and compassionate. They should be sensitive to the sick and homebound person’s needs including the spiritual, emotional, and material. They should always take care to maintain the confidentiality and dignity of the individual. They should also maintain contact with the pastor and/or parish pastoral care coordinator and inform them if the person is in need of sacramental anointing, the sacrament of reconciliation, or a pastoral visit. In addition, if EMHCs observe a particular physical or social need of a homebound person, they should bring this need to the attention of the pastoral care coordinator as well so that the parish may respond appropriately
If the sick/homebound person is well enough to participate in the full ritual, “Communion Under Ordinary Circumstances”, use that ritual. If the person is not very well, use the shorter ritual “Communion in a Hospital or Institution”. Both of these rituals are found in the rite, Pastoral Care of the Sick or in the smaller booklet, Communion of the Sick available from the Office of Worship.
EMHCs serving in institutions should always be sure that they are giving Holy Communion to the correct person. If there are Catholic family members or Catholic staff present, the EMHC should ask them if they would like to receive Holy Communion as well. When EMHCs have completed their assigned distribution, they should return any extra hosts to the parish or consume the hosts privately.
Extraordinary Ministers of Communion who are taking Holy Communion to the sick or homebound are to present the host in a prayerful manner. They are not to make judgments regarding the suitability of the person to receive the Holy Communion; such concerns are to be referred to the pastor.
Before anyone is added to the sick and homebound list, the Pastor must be aware and approve of the addition. EMHCs are to bring Holy Communion only to those assigned to them. If there’s need to bring Holy Communion to someone on a temporarily bases, consent must be obtained from the Pastor.
Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
Dos and Don’ts of Bringing Communion to the Sick and Homebound
If you would like the Holy Eucharist brought to you or a loved one, please call the parish office at 914-965-0566.