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Sick Communions

2010 April 8
by Gordon Reid

In the week after Easter, I have always tried to get round as many sick and housebound parishioners as possible, carrying to them the Blessed Sacrament. Since they cannot get to church, the church must get to them.

I get the Tabernacle key from the safe, open the door, part the silk curtains and take the lid off the ciborium. Then, after kneeling to adore the sacramental presence of Christ, I place as many hosts as I need that day in the silver pyx, place it in its bag, and slip it into my pocket. Then I head out to my car and start to call on parishioners.

Sometimes they are alone; others have friends or families gathered with them to share the Communion. Some are well versed in how to prepare for the Sacrament and have a white cloth spread on a table, sometimes with cross and candles too. For others, I spread a corporal cloth I bring with me and place the Sacrament on it.

Then we pray well-known bits of the Mass together: the Collect for Easter, the Collect for Corpus Christi, the Our Father, the Agnus Dei etc, and I place the host on their tongues or in their hands. Then follows a prayer of Thanksgiving and the Blessing.

It only takes five minutes, but afterwards one parishioner said to me: “Father, this is the high point of Easter for me.” I assured her that it was also one of the most rewarding duties a parish priest can have.

An old saying is “A house-going priest makes a church-going people”, which may be true. But I put a higher priority on visiting the sick and shut-in than on visiting the healthy who can get to church.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. Michael Arrington permalink
    April 8, 2010

    And that’s what a real priest should be like!

  2. Richard permalink
    April 8, 2010

    Remembering my younger days, our parish priest carried a small black handled case containing a set of candle sticks, a crucifix, purificator, small burse with corporal and a bottle of holy water etc. to take the reserved sacrament to the sick and shut ins. The pyx was carried in a leather case zippered closed and hanging around his neck by a black cord. When seeing the priest carrying the case we would not speak to him and observed quiet. Of course, this was more than 50 years ago. I presume the black case has become a thing of the past and the pyx is carried in the pocket.

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