First-time EMHC


#1

I hold the opinion that Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should be safe, legal and rare. However, tonight we were extremely short-handed: our ordinary sacristans were gone, our ‘extraordinary’ sacristan did half of his job and left, and the substitute lector slipped into a back pew with his wife after the Gospel Acclamation. So our parochial vicar had two ciboria and nobody but me, a lowly altar server.

So he pressed a ciborium into my hands and, tracing a cross on my forehead, whispered a prayer - he says there is a new one in the Roman Missal to deputize an EMHC - and sent me out.

I have done pretty much everything in the parish except celebrate Mass or hear a confession, (ok, exaggerating), but I had skilfully avoided EMHC ministry. Nonetheless, I felt a great sense of awe and wonder as I distributed Holy Communion to worthy communicants. What a great feeling it was to be a conduit of grace and love.

I had two mishaps. I missed one woman’s mouth entirely and jabbed her in the upper lip, but I think she forgave me. A young boy approached me with arms crossed and I gave one of those invalid blessings I’m not supposed to give. The parish guidelines specify an inoffensive script for this situation, but I forgot it, so I held up my hand and said “The Lord bless and keep you.” I studiously ignored the infants. Not going to trace crosses on their heads, sorry. I didn’t drop any hosts and I am pretty sure nobody else had a chance to abscond with a host in pocket, so I would call it a good success. I purified my fingers in the ablution cup.

Now I feel like I should attend a training session just so I will be more prepared and confident for the next emergency situation. But I have no desire to make this a career, and alas, have no vocation to the priesthood or religious life. My other liturgical duties keep me happy and plenty busy.


#2

:thumbsup:


#3

Sounds like you did well and served the Lord:thumbsup:

It really is an awesome privilege to distribute the Body or Blood of Our Lord in communion.


#4

I became an EMHC just before Lent this year and this past Saturday was the first time I had anyone receive on the tongue (and then I had 3); it’s a lot harder than it looks!


#5

For several years I ran the RCIA for our parish. I started in assisting the lady who ran it. When she died I inherited the job. She had a favorite quotation from Chesterton that I have clung to: “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.”

Not that one shouldn’t make every effort to do it right, but if no one better qualified will take the job, and it needs to be done, give it your best shot and leave the rest to God.


#6

My pastor asked me about two years ago to consider this ministry, and after some prayer and reflection, I agreed. It was way out of my comfort zone.

My biggest concern was those receiving on the tongue ( we always have some) and I have done alright with that. I ask the Blessed Mother to help me bring her son to others, as she brought Him to us.". Awesome, indeed.

I feel kind of silly blessing people, but our pastor is of the opinion that people expect it, and I'd we can bless our own children (which we can), then we can bless other people's.

Good job, Elizium!


#7

If it helps, the training manual for the Archdioces of Atlanta is here.

Ask your pastor if there is a similar doc for your diocese.

-Tim-


#8

The section for deputing a minister to distribute Holy Communion on a single occasion, according to the Roman Missal, is:

APPENDIX III
Rite of Deputing a Minister to Distribute Holy Communion on a Single Occasion

  1. The Diocesan Bishop has the faculty to permit individual Priests exercising sacred duties to depute a suitable member of the faithful to distribute Holy Communion with them on a single occasion, in cases of real necessity.

  2. When one of the faithful is deputed to distribute Communion on a single occasion in such cases, it is fitting that a mandate to do so should be conferred according to the following rite.

  3. After the Priest Celebrant himself has received the Sacrament in the usual way, the extraordinary minister comes to the altar and stands before the Celebrant, who blesses him or her with these words:

[INDENT]May the Lord ✠ bless you, so that at this Mass you may minister the Body and Blood of Christ to your brothers and sisters.

And he or she replies:

Amen.

  1. If the extraordinary minister is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist, the Priest gives Communion to the minister. Then the Priest gives him or her the ciborium or vessel with the hosts or the chalice and together they go to administer Communion to the faithful.[/INDENT]

#9

I visit the nursing home and hospital as an EMHC. There is no end to the awkward situations. if you can imagine it, I have been confronted with it. Semi conscious dying people… woman going to prison on Monday morning… people who I’m not sure if they’re Catholic but they insist they are, divorced, family members around the bed arguing, on and on. I have to simply trust God to give me the words and judgement he wants in a particular situation.

The worst ones are when a person is dying. Couple months ago I had a woman on the list from intensive care. She had been in jail and the woman clinging to life across the hall smuggled drugs into jail and passed them around. The ICU had law enforcement present to prevent altercations between the families. The woman listed as Catholic looked like she was 80, her face was purple and swollen, she was in fact 19 years old. So unbelievably heartbreaking…
Her family had the nurses wave me in to the room. The woman could not receive, she would die within the hour. Her mother was devout Catholic and signed her up. There was about 10 family around her who were in various states of agitation. What the woman needed was a priest with last rites. What she got was me. I had to blubber and stumble through a prayer for these people as their daughter/sister/ died. i didn’t know what to say and told them so, so I did the service without the communion for her and left.

Bottom line, don’t feel inadequate as an EMHC, God will take care of you with some preparation.


#10

Yes, I've given communion in hospital, and was directed to a patient who was paralyzed, blind, in pain and couldn't speak except in groans. I was left alone with the patient, so prayed aloud. I was met with very loud groans - I couldn't tell if the patient was trying to tell me to go away or was trying to pray. Not knowing which I opted for the latter, and stayed and went through the service, and broke a tiny fragment of the host and placed it on the patient's tongue.

I was sweating and in emotional torment that I was harming or upsetting the patient in some way.

It was one of the most uncomfortable moments of my life (and perhaps worse for the patient). You just have to muddle through as bet you can.

"Perfection is the enemy of the good."


#11

[quote="clem456, post:9, topic:289538"]
I visit the nursing home and hospital as an EMHC. There is no end to the awkward situations. if you can imagine it, I have been confronted with it. Semi conscious dying people... woman going to prison on Monday morning... people who I'm not sure if they're Catholic but they insist they are, divorced, family members around the bed arguing, on and on. I have to simply trust God to give me the words and judgement he wants in a particular situation.

The worst ones are when a person is dying. Couple months ago I had a woman on the list from intensive care. She had been in jail and the woman clinging to life across the hall smuggled drugs into jail and passed them around. The ICU had law enforcement present to prevent altercations between the families. The woman listed as Catholic looked like she was 80, her face was purple and swollen, she was in fact 19 years old. So unbelievably heartbreaking....
Her family had the nurses wave me in to the room. The woman could not receive, she would die within the hour. Her mother was devout Catholic and signed her up. There was about 10 family around her who were in various states of agitation. What the woman needed was a priest with last rites. What she got was me. I had to blubber and stumble through a prayer for these people as their daughter/sister/ died. i didn't know what to say and told them so, so I did the service without the communion for her and left.

Bottom line, don't feel inadequate as an EMHC, God will take care of you with some preparation.

[/quote]

Thank you for doing this for another human being.

-Tim-


closed #12

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