Happy New Year:
My Grandmother couldn’t make it to mass and our priest asked my mother and father if they would like to take communion to her. Not knowing the requirements they declined and I took communion toher instead. In our parish I’m an EMHC, but I don’t believe you need to be in order to give communion to the sick. Having said that (so that I know) what is the churches instruction on this matter?
Happy New Year:
I believe that the priest, deacon or an EMHC is supposed to take Holy Communion to the sick. You did the right thing.
While RS speaks mostly to what happens during the Mass, this could be a rule of thumb:
[155.] In addition to the ordinary ministers there is the formally instituted acolyte, who by virtue of his institution is an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion even outside the celebration of Mass. If, moreover, reasons of real necessity prompt it, another lay member of Christ’s faithful may also be delegated by the diocesan Bishop, in accordance with the norm of law,256 for one occasion or for a specified time, and an appropriate formula of blessing may be used for the occasion. This act of appointment, however, does not necessarily take a liturgical form, nor, if it does take a liturgical form, should it resemble sacred Ordination in any way. Finally, in special cases of an unforeseen nature, permission can be given for a single occasion by the Priest who presides at the celebration of the Eucharist.257
But, again, this only treats the matter of what happens during the Mass. Since you are an EMHC, then your taking Holy Communion to your grandmother should not be a problem.
If needed, a priest can appoint a member of the faithful as an EMHC at Mass for a single occassion. So I don’t see why he would not be able to appoint your parents as an EMHC to take communion to your grand mother for one occassion as well. I don’t think he would be making that suggestion if he did not know them well enough.
It should be said, however, that an EMHC should not take it upon themself to take Communion to anyone without getting permission to do so. In the case of the OP it seems that permission was given but I still would have cleared it with the pastor, since the offer had been declined. Just my opinion.
Only a priest, deacon or EMHC should bring Holy Communion to the sick. It’s not just a case of bringing the Host and giving it to the sick person. There is a proper procedure that includes lit candles and prayers.
EMHCs are (or should be) properly trained in the proper way to do this. It is not something for just anyone, since they would not know how to do it, and would not have a pyx in which to carry the Host.
I ran the EMHC’s to the home bound for several years at our parish. The pastor was often asked to appoint a relative to take communion to one who was home bound, and always agreed. I appreciated the extra help, because we were always short handed. [We always have too many for the altar, and too few for the homes. :(]
I limited the regulars to 2-4 calls per Sunday and used them two weeks on two weeks off. I found that, if one more than that, it tended to become a routine procedure, and it was hard to maintain a proper reverence for the sacrament.
In our Diocese, you need to be installed by your Bishop as a Pastoral Care team member, which entails taking and passing a short certification course beforehand. The installation ceremony takes place on the last day of each course.
Here the priest will train a family member to bring communion to the housebound if they are seriously ill.