From a reader…
I have a question that has been troubling me lately and I hope that you can answer my concern. There is a monthly roster that is posted at our parish to let the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion what Mass they are designated to serve at. Our current pastor has, thankfully, diminished the amount of EMHC’s that serve, from four to one per Mass.
As you might have guessed, I am also an EMHC, but I have been uncomfortable in being one. Since reading Dominus Est by His Excellency Athanasius Schnieder and reading/hearing quotes from various saints on how unconsecrated hands should not touch the most Holy Eucharist, I have been considering stop being an EMHC.
Here in is where my predicament lies. I also go one Sunday a month and give Communion to the elderly at nursing homes who do not have anyone to take them to Mass. I feel torn between giving up being an EMHC and continuing the service to the elderly. There are very few persons who volunteer for Communion services to the elderly and some have quit recently.
I would really appreciate it if you can show some guidance in this situation. God Bless you and your work always, Father.
Thank you for being thoughtful about your role as an EMHC. There is also a Vatican document which all priests and everyone involved in this ministry should read. HERE
The employment of EMHCs is, in some places, out of hand.
That said, your desire to continue to help people at the nursing homes is commendable.
While it is without question that the ordained are the first choice for any ministry directly concerning the Eucharist. Holy Church permits this ministry and, with the shortage of priests, you could be of great service to the elderly.
Perhaps you could schedule an appointment with the parish priest. Explain that you would like to continue with the nursing homes, but you would rather not be scheduled during Mass. If he is reasonable, that should be enough.
This morning I was struck by a story about how the new President of Poland, Andrej Duda, pounced protectively on a Host that had fallen and was being blown by the wind, lest it be lost or desecrated.
Marvelous. Should he have waited for a priest to catch the Host?
We do what we need to do, when we need to do it, for love of the Lord and also for love of our neighbor. While your service at Mass probably isn’t needed, it could be that you service to the elderly is.
Talk with your priest.