There are many ways to get involved in the Catholic Mass — from singing in the choir to serving as a lector. As the saying goes, “Many hands make light work.” We need every parishioner to make our Masses what they are. One ministry requires its members to take extra care for their work — the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to the Homebound. As not everyone can attend Mass, we have dedicated stewards who administer the Sacrament of the Eucharist to those in need.
Arlene Schleicher got to know this ministry more than 25 years ago when she was pregnant with her twin daughters. She received the Eucharist and discovered the blessing of this ministry. She had hoped to return the favor someday.
“St. Leo’s is blessed to have such a wonderful group of individuals devoted to serving others through this ministry,” Arlene says.
There are more than 20 people who serve in this ministry, and there are more than 25 people currently receiving the Eucharist on Sundays. This number can fluctuate as some members receive for just a short time.
“Some become like family members,” Arlene says. “We grow to become close and develop special relationships over time.”
Those receiving the Eucharist live in several facilities across Grand Island. Others receive the Eucharist in their homes.
Joyce Aspen has been involved in this ministry for more than four years and says she has enjoyed this impactful opportunity to serve. In addition to ministering the Eucharist, she makes it a point to share parts of the homily with those she visits.
“This is definitely my favorite ministry — giving others the opportunity to have the body of Christ,” Joyce says. “The people I am able to serve have enriched my life with their knowledge, smiles, and joys of living a Catholic life.”
Irene Beckstead has been involved with this ministry on and off for about 20 years and has gotten to know many of the recipients over the years. She always sees how thankful they are to receive the Eucharist.
“I find it amazing that even if some residents are in different stages of dementia if you make the sign of the cross and start saying the Our Father, they start praying,” Irene says.
Cheri Schmidt loves being able to go out and serve those who can’t attend Mass. Her husband, Steve, often goes with her. They both enjoy this opportunity to serve together.
“It is so important to bring Jesus to people,” Cheri says. “A vital part of our Catholic faith is receiving the Real Presence of Jesus via this sacrament. We all need the special graces we receive through the Eucharist for our entire life.”
Cheri has been especially blessed to know that she’s helping someone receive the Eucharist for as long as possible.
“I hope someday, if I am in their situation and unable to physically attend Mass, someone will serve me this way,” she says. “It is a unique ministry of serving others as Jesus did while actually bringing Jesus to others!”
Kathy and Dan Boroff say this ministry has reminded them of the importance of the Eucharist. They would recommend others get involved and be blessed by this ministry.
“You will be blessed as much as, or even more than the recipients we minister to,” Kathy says.
Deacon Bill and Nancy Buchta have also served in this ministry for many years. They love how it allows them to extend our parish beyond the physical walls of St. Leo’s.
“As we bring the Gospel message and the Eucharist, we are evangelizing as Jesus has commanded,” Nancy says. “We become the hands, voice, and ears of Christ’s body.”
Norbert Wenzl has been part of this ministry for more than 30 years. He feels most blessed by the reactions of the recipients.
“I enjoy just seeing the joy on the faces of the people who receive the Eucharist and just how appreciative they are for this opportunity to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus,” Norbert says. “That brings me joy as a homebound minister. I feel a bit guilty, as I am just as blessed in giving them Jesus in the Eucharist as they are to receive Jesus.”
Finally, Dawnell Glunz is involved in several ministries at St. Leo’s — she believes this one makes a particularly important impact. She realizes some of the recipients may not have anyone else who is visiting them regularly.
“We never know how much interaction our parishioners receive during the week,” Dawnell says. “Our time together may be the only non-medication conversation our parishioners have all week. Our time together is a gift.”
Parishioners are invited to become involved in this ministry. Contact Arlene Schleicher at 308-379-0080 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to get involved.