We are all familiar with the adage, “Many hands make light work” — and that certainly applies to our liturgical ministries! One ministry requires stewards to take extra care for their work — the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to the Homebound. The most important part of the Mass is when we receive Jesus’ Body and Blood. However, not everyone can attend Mass — by bringing the Eucharist to them, we extend Mass past the walls of our parishes. We have dedicated stewards who administer this important sacrament to those in need.
Chris Manion has been part of this ministry for nine years, and there are currently 11 other volunteers bringing communion to about 25 people in their homes or facilities each weekend.
“It is such an honor and privilege to share the cup of Christ’s Blood or His Body along with the presider of our liturgies,” Chris says. “Those of us who do so are literal Christ-bearers. There’s no greater comfort to those who are ill or facing their last days than receiving our Lord and bringing Him to comfort and join them in their suffering.”
Being able to share Christ with those from our community who can’t attend Mass is a huge blessing to Chris. She also feels blessed to spend time with those who are sick and suffering.
“Those visited will find the Lord reaching out to them physically, to hear His voice and feel His touch through us, and then, they are spiritually nourished by His Body and Blood in Communion,” Chris says.
Some of the people they visit are too weak to join in the prayers. The ministers may read the Gospel and share some of the homily. Chris often sees their faces light up.
“The adoration of Christ I’ve seen on the faces of the sisters and brothers I visit has deepened my own faith and brought great beauty and sustenance to my soul,” Chris says.
Chris also serves our parish as a lector, an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, and a choir member. She’s been a Bible study leader, speaker, catechist, prison minister, and member of the Parish Council. Although all ministries are important, she’d love to see more people step in to serve those who are homebound, helping bring them the gift of the Eucharist.
“This ministry allows me to go beyond mere words and put into practice the mission of Christ and the Church,” Chris says. “Those of us who participate in this beautiful ministry live the words spoken at each Mass’s dismissal, ‘Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.’”
There have been times when ministry members are the last ones to bring the Eucharist before the person passes away.
“There are no words except perhaps holiness to express the emotions and joy one feels to help a soul like that,” Chris says.
Sometimes, Chris will train a family member to bring the Eucharist to the person. St. Rita’s has a book of prayers for offering a Communion Service. Chris can offer this training by request.
For more information on this ministry, or to get involved, contact Chris Manion at email@example.com.