Paper in the PYX?

The Deacon at my old parish in TX is requiring the EMs ministering to the homebound to have a piece of paper in their pyx with their name and # hosts needed when at the altar. This seems wrong in that NOTHING but the Eucharist should be in the pyx! It also prevents EMs from other parishes from filling their pyx as they receive the Eucharist.

Has this guy gone off the deep end?

He’s being lazy. I’ve never taken the Eucharist to the homebound, but this sounds terrifically inappropriate to me. I agree - NOTHING should be in the pyx except Jesus.


Actually, I believe the deacon is at least partially correct in that pyx’s, as I understand it, are not supposed to be filled in the Communion line and then taken, filled, back to the pews for the remainder of Mass. It’s also not clear why EM’s from other parishes expect their pyx’s to be filled at this parish, not their own. I thought the drill was to leave the pyx’s at the tabernacle to be filled and then picked up after Mass – which would account for the need for the name and number. Perhaps the issue could be better resolved via a slip of paper under each pyx. So no, I don’t really see a “deep end” here.

Are the pyxes placed on the altar before communion is given? If so, then it is a matter of convenience (and not an uncommon practice).

Certainly, however, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should be going to their own parish to take hosts to the sick. They should not be allowed to just show up and “fill up”.:eek: If this is happening, perhaps the previous issue is a matter of safeguarding the Eucharist: a positive good.

We require the name and address of the person the EMHC is brining communion to. We don’t do slips of paper but have a book in the sacristy that the person has to fill in the name and address each time they bring the Eucharist. This way the pastor knows who is receiving communion and an make appointments to visit them. We had one incident where the pastor noticed that a woman who was receiving communion at home almost daily was also going out to lunch, the bridge club and other social engagements, but never came to Mass. The pastor was able to address that with the woman and the communion calls were stopped until she was truly homebound.

You don’t see a problem with having a pyx filled in the Communion line and then taking it back to the pew and “keeping Jesus in your pocket” for the rest of Mass?

In our parish, the EMHC to the homebound either gathers the appropriate number of hosts from the Tabernacle (oustid of Mass of course), or if they are taking it to the homebound on Sunday, they obtain them from the priest or deacon after the Mass.

Never, ever, never in the communion line.

I also have to question why an EMHC is going to a parish other than their own to obtain the Eucharist. How do you know they are really an EMHC?

I am an EMHC, and my commision is for my parish only.

I do not think that she said all. I think that she was hinting that there are allowed methods that can be used and could be more reverent. In our parish after Mass a deacon or acolyte go to the tabernacle and retrieve the hosts and put them in the pyx. Of course we always have some EMHC that thinks that he/she knows more than the pastor and does that by himself.

Yes - thank you. I have no idea where that interpretation of my post came from. :rolleyes: You are right in your understanding of what I said.


I apologize if I misunderstood your response. I was reacting to the fact that the OP described a situation where EM’s were “filling their pyx as they received the Eucharist” and your statement was that it was the deacon who was “lazy.” To my way of thinking the deacon was correct to prevent that from happening.

Actually, it might be improper for EMs from other parishes to fill their pyx at your parish. EMs are deputized for a particular purpose at a particular parish. Just because you are an EM at Parish A doesn’t mean that you are deputized at Parish B.

What about several parishes operating as a pastoral unit, which is common in Canada? Usually the same priests are working all the parishes within the unit.

I’m thinking about the rules that I have been taught, and they don’t allow for the practice of going up in the regular communion lines to have the pyx filled.

The paper concerns me. Is the Eucharist being placed on the paper within the pyx? That cannot be right if it is so. The paper would have to be carefully handled and disposed of according to rules. You said it is no longer your parish, let’s hope the account that you received somehow got garbled in transmission. Perhaps the EMHC who told you the account could investigate what is going on with the paper carefully. Perhaps someone somewhere misunderstood the instructions they were given, and then that could be corrected.

As I have seen this done the pyxes would be brought to the altar either as the EMHCs come up to receive or from the credence table after the priest receives (perhaps even immediately prior to purification). The slip of paper would be removed and either disposed of by the deacon or handed back with the pyx to the EMHC. The paper never makes contact with the consecrated hosts.

If the pyx is fully empty, then there would be no contact with hosts. I’m just a little concerned, though, because I’ve seen our collection of pyx containers at our parish. They are not always empty of particles when placed into the storage drawer. I know that ought not be, but some part of me feels concerned that it is a reality that must seen as possible. Then the paper would contact consecrated particles. That is just my parish, though, and my experience. Thorough instruction would help in this matter.

Perhaps, too, I am the sort of person who keeps separate functions in my head for things. The inside of a pyx is a separate space, for a set purpose, in my mind. That’s just me, though. I doubt all would feel this way. A piece of paper outside of the pyx would not bother me.

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