So I was an Eucharist Minister and had to walk to their seats to give them Communion, and I'm always happy to do that for those who can't make it up to Communion. (There are people who do get in line with their walkers, wheelchairs, and canes.) The ushers direct me to those who are seated but wish to receive. It was a bit awkward because it was a learning experience for me. I'll do better next time, I hope.
- They can't always see so well. So I or someone had to tell a few people I am there with the Host to give them Communion.
- They can't always hear so well. I tend to speak softly because the people in the pews around them are praying, and I want to keep it reverent. However, I need to speak in at least a normal tone of voice. The idea is to communicate.
- Sometimes they receive by hand, and their hands or arms don't work too well.
- Some can't chew or swallow too well or don't open their mouths wide enough. I need to give them a small piece. I accidently gave a woman two Hosts because they were stuck together. Then I was worried she would choke or it would fall out.
- One staff member from the assistant living home said, "May I?" I gave the piece of Host to Miss Staff Member, and she knew exactly how to feed it to a resident. I half-worried that I broke some Canon law, but I made the quick decision that Jesus doesn't want to anyone to choke to death in church. Also, without the trained staff member assisting, the Host may have dribbled out onto the woman's blouse. That wouldn't have been good. The staff member had a respectful demeanor and therefore, treated the Sacrament with respect. I don't know if she was Catholic or not. I did give the other staff member Communion because she held out her hands to receive. After all, she couldn't leave her charges to get in the Communion line and go up front.
- Some of the assistant living residents seemed they just woke up. Maybe they just did, or maybe they have a touch of dementia. Where they even aware of the significance of the Sacrament or that they were at Mass? I wondered, but realized NOT FOR ME TO DETERMINE.
I went back to my seat and just asked God to sort it all out. God knows the heart and mind and soul of those residents. God knows the road they have traveled so far. God knows I tried my best and my ignorance (though I'm a little bit smarter today). Jesus wants all to partake, and everyone is welcomed at Mass. I know people receive graces in ways I don't know. It's not up to me to determine eligibility. It is up to me to be the best instrument I can be.
However, I think I'm going to shoot an email to the rectory or call that perhaps we Extraordinary Ministers need training in ministering to special populations in Church.