Home from the parish’s Eucharistic Ministry dinner and evening of reflection. Each year we have an annual potluck dinner followed by a brief presentation. This year, my colleague David (who oversees Communion to the sick) and I combined our groups. The pastor spoke briefly and opened it up to questions.
The usual complaints surfaced: dress code, lack of reverence, people not showing up as scheduled, why we didn’t keep pyxes in the church, why we don’t use consecration bells, disappearing purificators, and too few small hosts for nursing homes.
One person raised the comment about the age of the people present, and why didn’t we have younger parishioners serving as communion ministers.
We actually do call many young people and young parents to serve. Some accept, but not many came to dinner tonight.
Fr Don reminded folks that officially, people do not volunteer to be Eucharistic Ministers. They are called. I suggested that the people who should see themselves as facilitators of God’s call in that regard. It is the lay people who see which people are reverent when they approach the altar, who attends Mass weekly, and who gives good example for others.
I told them that when the pastor or I ask people to get involved, it might seem that we’re just looking for a warm body to plug a hole on the schedule. Imagine if a parishioner was told by two or three other EM’s they might consider serving. Wouldn’t it be more likely they would sense the call came from God, rather than from a pragmatism for balancing ages serving?
In the long run, encouraging parishioners to encourage in turn is the best way to go. It goes against the grain, especially in parishes where people expect to be serviced a little bit by their clergy and staff.