I’d say in the average parish with a thousand families and one priest (two if the diocese is lucky), it is a tall order to expect the priest to visit every homebound or hospitalized person on anything resembling a regular basis, while still handling all the other requirements of parish life.
Practices may vary from church to church. At my local parish, training is once a year takes less than an hour and does not cover much of what Mintaka has posted.
EMHCs often have had multiple marriages, marriage outside of the church, or miss Mass obligations for various reasons.
There was a time when I was an EMCH and in violation of quite a few of the points Mintaka shared and quite unaware that I should not serving in this capacity.
When I finally figured it out, (courtesy of teachings provided at another church) I made some major changes sacramentally and found other ways of being active in my local church.
The idea of a base line list of expectations and solid formation is quite different from checking off the box on the time talent and treasure envelope that says i’d like to serve as an EMHC, which is my local parish approach to finding such ministers.
Had I seen this, I would not have volunteered and would have gotten to work earlier on my state of grace issues.
I had a strong need for catechesis on these subjects. Part of the church being a hospital for sinners needs to be letting us know how we might be in error so we can make adjustments.
How exactly do you define “regular basis”?
I’ve found the above to be true of a lot of people who serve in active church ministry. I give them the benefit of the doubt that they straightened things out with their priest before they took up whatever ministry it is. I realize that sometimes people don’t know there’s a problem and the priest doesn’t bother to check (or it doesn’t matter to him when perhaps it should), but I also don’t think it’s my business to bother about it.
It’s kind of “on them” to figure it out and straighten it out. Also, if they, like you, genuinely did not know and were not properly told or trained, then I’m not seeing any sin involved.
The issue of scandal does come to mind. I regret scandal I may have caused, the possibility that so many who are not in conformity with church teaching are offering the sacrament to others.
I wonder if such scandal over time, unaddressed, contributes to a lessened awareness of the Real Presence.
A charitable way forward is to assume the best in others, yet, I know that some of those I mentioned are aware that they have placed themselves out of communion with the church and are not yet ready to submit to her authority. It is not always a question of lack of awareness.
Still, it won’t hurt to share information about what ought to be. Perhaps, my example and Mintaka’s information will help others to think about these issues on a personal level and, if need be, seek out more information or, if they have made my error, seek to rectify it.
May God bless you and all who visit this thread.
While all the priests I know do visit hospitals weekly, and often nursing homes, they would not be able to keep up with home visits to every shut-in who lives within their parish. Why would we limit the ability of those people to receive the Eucharist to the priest’s sometimes overburdened schedule? Especially when the Church provides a way for them to receive?
To be in full communion with the Catholic Church is one of the requirements.
Maybe there is one or two priests and many people who are home bound and he may feel that he needs a little help with that.
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