This long section outlines two important connections which must be fostered in bringing Communion to the sick. The first paragraph underscores the sacramental privilege of receiving Communion, but also the value of the Eucharist as a sign of pastoral outreach by the faith community:
The faithful who are ill are deprived of their rightful and accustomed place in the eucharistic community. In bringing communion to them the minister of communion represents Christ and manifests faith and charity on behalf of the whole community toward those who cannot be present at the eucharist. For the sick the reception of communion is not only a privilege but also a sign of support and concern shown by the Christian community for its members who are ill.
The Sunday Eucharist is at the heart of a community’s ministry of support for the ill. It is also a mutual effort; the sick are brought to the Sunday assembly through prayer as part of a greater spiritual formation in Christian faith:
The links between the community’s eucharistic celebration, especially on the Lord’s Day, and the communion of the sick are intimate and manifold. Besides remembering the sick in the general intercessions at Mass, those present should be reminded occasionally of the significance of communion in the lives of those who are ill: union with Christ in his struggle with evil, his prayer for the world, and his love for the Father, and union with the community from which they are separated.
Most parishes mark some point during the Eucharist as a time to send communion ministers from the assembly to the parish’s sick members. The “clear demonstration” cited in the coming paragraph implies a public ritual taking place after the Communion procession, most likely:
The obligation to visit and comfort those who cannot take part in the eucharistic assembly may be clearly demonstrated by taking communion to them from the community’s eucharistic celebration. This symbol of unity between the community and its sick members has the deepest significance on the Lord’s Day, the special day of the eucharistic assembly.
How does your parish conduct itself along these lines? Is ministry to the sick part of the liturgy, part of the ministry effort, and tied closely to the Sunday celebration of Mass?