Anointing of the Sick
Part 4 The Ritual: 
Pastoral Care of the Sick

Chapter s43 Communion of the Sick

Preliminary Questions

Bibliography

Theology

To Think About

Preliminary Questions

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Bibliography

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Theology

 

 

From Thomas Richstatter, Eucharist: Jesus With Us Chapter 12, “Beyond the Mass”

Each year, the members of the Bianchi family gather at their grandparents' home after Mass on Easter Sunday. In addition to the way-too-much food grandmother prepares, her daughters each make special dishes. The resulting meal is a combination of Easter joy, great food and family ties. One year, shortly before Easter, grandmother fell, broke her hip and was in the hospital on Easter Sunday. Even though she could not be present, she insisted that the family gather as usual; and so they did. They celebrated their family's traditional Easter dinner. After the meal, they took some of Rita's ham, Clara's lasagna and Angela's pie and went to share the dishes with their mother. They wanted her to know that, although she was not able to be physically present with them at their family gathering, she was very much a part of their Easter celebration.

When I help parishioners prepare for the ministry of bringing Holy Communion to those who cannot be present for Sunday Eucharist, I often use this story to help them to appreciate that they are bringing more than the consecrated Host. Through their ministry of prayer and sacrament they assure those to whom they minister of the presence and support of the parish family, the Eucharistic community, the Body of Christ. This “more” is important not only theologically but also psychologically, because the sense of isolation or separation from family and friends is often one of the hardest parts of being ill.

Bringing Communion to the sick has a long history. However, some of the earliest accounts of Communion outside of Mass are not about taking Communion to the sick but of taking Communion to members of the community who were in prison! Today we are so accustomed to freedom of religion that we can forget there were times when being a Christian was a crime. And sometimes we forget that there are Christians in similar circumstances today. ...

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To Think About

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Copyright: Tom Richstatter.  All Rights Reserved.  This page was created by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.  Every effort has been, and is being made to acknowledge sources when the ideas are not my own.  Any failure to comply with the United States Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code) will be corrected immediately should I become aware of it.  This site was updated on 03/20/15.  Your comments on this site are welcome at trichstatter@franciscan.org