PCS 74: Bringing Communion

The preparations for the home Communion visit are not elaborate, but sometimes they can be overlooked.

When the eucharist is brought to the sick, it should be carried in a pyx or small closed container. Those who are with the sick should be asked to prepare a table covered with a linen cloth upon which the blessed sacrament will be placed. Lighted candles are prepared and, where it is customary, a vessel of holy water. Care should be taken to make the occasion special and joyful.


A pyx is designed to carry the Blessed Sacrament safely. I’ve known people to use a purificator–that would seem to be out of keeping with the prescriptions of the rite.

The rite says to “take care,” so the small prescriptions of a cloth (the parish may consider providing linen, as it is not as common in homes as it used to be) and candles on a table can reflect that. Communion in hospitals or elder care facilities or with sick people on oxygen may prevent the use of a lighted candle. Options I wouldn’t consider with happiness would be an unlighted candle or an “electric” candle. The symbolism is with light, not with a white column. An electric lamp in a dimmed room would seem to be far more preferable to the usual makeshift operations with an unlit or pseudo-candle.

The Communion rite is an occasion of joy. That’s an important consideration to keep in mind.


Sick people who are unable to receive communion under the form of bread may receive it under the form of wine alone. If the wine is consecrated at a Mass not celebrated in the presence of the sick person, the blood of the Lord is kept in a properly covered vessel and is placed in the tabernacle after communion. The precious blood should be carried to the sick in a vessel which is closed in such a way as to eliminate all danger of spilling. If some of the precious blood remains, it should be consumed by the minister, who should also see to it that the vessel is properly purified.


Parishes should be prepared to bring the Precious Blood when a sick person cannot take solid food. All parishes should be prepared with vessels (plural) which can be securely closed.

Lacking an update of this rite, it would seem the responsibility for purification rests with the visiting minister, ordained or lay.

Any thoughts from the readers?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Pastoral Care of the Sick, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

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