December 2, 2018 - Pastor Message01/18/2019
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him...Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was...ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord...when did we see you ill or in prison and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least ones, you did for me’” (Matthew 25:3132, 34, 3637, 3940).
The practice of bringing Holy Communion to the sick and homebound who are unable to join their brothers and sisters at Sunday Mass has a long history in the Church. As early as the 2nd century AD, the Christian writer Justin Martyr described the custom by which deacons took Holy Communion from Mass to members of the worshipping community who could not attend. This special ministry strengthened those who were ill or imprisoned for their faith by sharing with them the grace of Christ’s Body and Blood and assuring them, in a tangible way, of the faith community’s prayerful support.
That practice continues in the Church today in a variety of ways. Once a month, usually on the first Friday, it is customary for pastors to visit the homebound of their parish and to bring them Holy Communion. Upon request, I am also glad to do so outside of that time for those who may be hospitalized. Even beyond that, however, we are blessed at St. Boniface with a group of dedicated parishioners who bring Holy Communion to the homebound every week, usually on Thursday. If you would like to add the name of a loved one to our list of homebound parishioners, please contact the parish office. We will be glad to include them in our visits.
There is one other way that our homebound parishioners receive Holy Communion, and that is through the help of family or friends who bring Holy Communion to them after Sunday Mass. We have a number of parishioners who bring Communion to homebound parents, neighbors, and friends on a regular basis. Normally, those who perform this generous service bring a small container, called a pyx, up with them in the Communion line and receive an extra host from the minister. They then reverently take the pyx home with them to give Communion to their loved one.
Unfortunately, through the fault of no one here at St. Boniface, some people from other parishes have abused this practice, failing to treat the Eucharist they are carrying with the reverence it deserves. Because of that, Bishop Persico has insisted that all parishes conform to a diocesan-wide policy on how the practice of bringing Holy Communion to homebound relatives and friends is to be done. This will require some changes to the practice here at St. Boniface. I am asking that all parishioners who bring Holy Communion to their homebound relatives and friends on a regular basis please plan to stay after Mass next weekend, December 89, for a brief training session on the new procedures. This training is not for the ministers who bring Communion to the people on our homebound list every Thursday, a practice which has its own procedure, but rather it is for individuals who bring Communion to homebound relatives and friends following Sunday Mass. It will not take long, about 15 minutes, but it is important to make sure that we are in conformity with diocesan policy. Thank you for your cooperation and for the important service that you provide to our homebound parishioners and, through them, to Christ.
Fr. Marc Stockton