Sunday, January 6, 2013

Jesus is all over the place!

Most of you, my dear friends and blog readers, are aware that I'm Catholic.  Am I a good Catholic?  Well, it would depend on what era of my life I'm writing about.  You see, my behavior comes and goes in spurts.  There have been times when I've been extremely devoted; attending church every Sunday, weekday mornings, chapel, and even becoming a mandated Extraordinary minister of Holy Communion for the local nursing homes.  Then there are other times when I seem to drift away for one reason or another; perhaps I haven't gone to confession for awhile or attending mass with my boys has become too stressful.  Unfortunately, at this point of my life, it's the latter; however, I've discovered that my faith is never lost.  I keep my spirituality close, always nurturing it and remembering that I'm but a grain of sand in this amazing universe which was created by a power greater than myself.

Today's blog is about the time when I was an extraordinary minister.  For a bit of explanation, Catholics believe that the bread and wine is transformed into the body and blood of Christ during the mass.  This is core to our faith and a major point to my upcoming story.  Ready or not here I go...

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Jesus is all over the place!

Eric,  my husband, normally didn't go with me when I was scheduled to serve at the nursing home on Wednesday mornings; however, he was on vacation this particular week.  This was also an unusual day in that *Father Paul was going to meet the residents for the first time and perform a full mass.  Normally, it would just be myself distributing the Holy Eucharist from room to room.

For whatever reason, everything was going wrong from the get go.  The CNAs were bringing patients into the meeting room who - yes, were Catholic - but were not cognizant and could not receive Communion.  This was fine but Father Paul had no clue as to who was who.  These folks needed to stay in their rooms for blessings, not attend mass.  I couldn't stop the situation fast enough. 

The mass started.  *Millie started singing.  There was no singing during the service.  I sat next to her, held her hand, and tried to explain it to her but to no avail.  Eric was on the other side of the room attempting to calm down another resident.  Father Paul, who was very young and a newly ordained priest, was very confused by the situation.  He lost track of where he was constantly.  He stuttered, stammered, and stumbled through the entire service.  If he hadn't looked like he was 16 years old, one might have assumed he was a resident himself.

Eventually it came time to distribute the Holy Eucharist, The Body of Christ.  Father Paul walked dutifully around the room distributing It.  Before I had a chance to stop him, he placed the Host on *Mr. Edward's dangling tongue.  Oh NO!  This was a mistake of grand proportion.  Next came Millie.

"You're not Father George..?"  Millie very loudly voiced her concern.
"No, I'm Father Paul" whispered father.
"Where's *Father George?"
"He couldn't make it today" as father attempted again to place the host into her mouth...
"Did you know *Father Michael?"
"No, I didn't."
"He was an alcoholic.  He drank the holy wine when no one was looking."  I choked back laughter, Eric snorted on the other side of the room, and Father Paul stuffed the Holy Eucharist into her mouth.

Everyone had finally been served and Father was cleaning up quietly.  During my prayers, I looked over horrified at Millie.  She was picking the Eucharist out of her teeth and smearing It on her lap blanket.  Jesus was all over the place!  Under her dirty fingernails, on the floor, and in her tissue!  This was BAD!  Then Eric coughed across the room to catch my attention.  Mr. Edwards still had the Host hanging off his tongue.  He was a resident who was in a waking coma.  Father Paul should never have given him the Eucharist. There was protocol for this and Eric, being a former extraordinary minister himself, knew what needed to be done.  He walked up to the resident, removed the Host, and quietly brought it up to Father who then popped it into his own mouth.  I almost gagged. 

Millie started singing again.  It was a show tune this time.  Her timing was impeccable.

*Names have been changed for privacy purposes.