from 23 to 29 August 2010
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Depends on what you mean by 'successful', we suppose
In the face page letter of the August 22 edition of AO, I found the following sentence: "Alas, no matter how well-meaning they might be, any priest in a successful parish has far too busy a calendar for there to be much time for home communion."
And what might be on that calendar which would preclude the priest from doing what s/he was ordained to do? And what, pray tell, is a "successful"" parish? If it is a parish where the priest does not provide communion for shut-ins, how can it possibly be termed "successful"?
I'm always pleased to know that "Lay Eucharistic Ministers" are carrying the Sacrament to the shut-ins (because it means those folk are at least getting the Sacrament) but I keep asking "Why?" Certainly early on, lay people carried the Sacrament home for their own daily use, but It seems a real confusion between lay ministry and ordained ministry to have them taking the Sacrament to others. Carrying the Sacrament to the sick and infirm has historically been at the core of the diaconal vocation. Why aren't Deacons carrying the Sacrament to the sick? Where are the Deacons? (Who also, by the way, ought to be handling the administration of parishes and dioceses if historical precedent is any guide.)
The Order of Julian of Norwich
Hartland, Wisconsin, USA
23 August 2010
But there's no question of what is meant by 'important'
As a Lay Reader and a member of my parish Pastoral Care Team, I am licenced to take the reserved sacrament to those who are homebound or in nursing homes. Twice a month I conduct truncated Eucharist services for the residents of two seniors' residences, and it is my experience that there is nothing more important than the administration of the Communion for those who are closer to the end of this life than most of us.
Regardless of the mental state of the recipient - and many of the people to whom I administer Communion are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's - at the administration there is a definite recognition of what is taking place and there is a glorious and grace-full moment shared by administrant and communicant. It is true Communion, blessed and holy.
I will be haunted by the image of the person described in your opening essay today (August 22) who left this life without the comfort of the sacraments, Communion and Anointing, without a visit from his parish priest, and I give thanks for the caring and committed priests with whom I have been privileged to journey, none of whom would leave me to die without receiving the sacraments.
St. John's Cathedral
Winnipeg, Manitoba, CANADA
23 August 2010
Your letter concerning Home Communion Ministers reminded me of my time deployed to Iraq. On the major bases there were regular chapel services multiple times per week. On the other hand, the smaller Joint Security Stations (JSS’s) and Combat Outposts (COP’s) have access to a chaplain and the sacraments only when the chaplain is able to go to their scattered locations. To make such a movement required a multi-vehicle combat patrol for security; the trips were always rewarding and those desiring to receive were always appreciative of the effort made.
CH (CPT) Steven Rindahl
Chapel of Christ the King (Liturgical Chapel Service)
Ft Jackson, SC
23 August 2010
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