Sancta Missa - Rituale Romanum (Roman Ritual) - Rite for communion for the sick


14. As he enters the sick-room the priest says:

P: God's peace be in this home.

All: And in all who live here.

Sprinkling With Holy Water

{Sprinkling the sick person and the room with holy water is like sprinkling the congregation before Mass on Sunday or on other occasions. It is a commemoration of the cleansing water of baptism, but even more, it is the Church's sacramental and prayer that the grace of baptism be renewed in the present need.}

15. All who are present should be kneeling. The priest places the Blessed Sacrament on a corporal laid out on the table. (This table is made ready, covered with a white cloth, and on it a crucifix and two lighted candles, holy water, a glass of water, and a white napkin.) The priest genuflects in adoration and lays aside the humeral veil. Then taking holy water he sprinkles the sick person and the room, saying the antiphon:

Purify me with hyssop, Lord, and I shall be clean of sin. Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Have mercy on me, God, in your great kindness. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

All: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

P: Purify me with hyssop, Lord, and I shall be clean of sin. Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Then he continues:

P: Our help is in the name of the Lord. All: Who made heaven and earth. P: Lord, heed my prayer. All: And let my cry be heard by you. P: The Lord be with you. All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.

Hear us, holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God, and in your goodness send your holy angel from heaven to watch over and protect all who live in this home, to be with them and give them comfort and encouragement; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

{After carrying out the following rubric, it would be very fitting for the priest, if time allows, to say one or the other penitential psalms (see Part IX. The Seven Penitential Psalms), or a prayer or gospel reading from the ministration to the sick (see Chapter III).}

16. Then he approaches the sick person to ascertain if he is properly disposed to receive holy communion (or Viaticum), and if he wishes to confess any sins. If so, he hears his confession and absolves him, although the person should have gone to confession beforehand, unless necessity dictates otherwise.

17. After the Confiteor has been said by the sick person or by someone else in his name, the priest says:

May almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you your sins, and lead you to everlasting life.

All: Amen.

P: May the almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon, absolution, + and remission of your sins.

All: Amen.

18. Having genuflected, he removes the host from the pyx, holds it up before the sick person, and says:

See the Lamb of God, see Him who takes away the sins of the world. (And as usual he adds thrice:) Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, but only say the word, and my soul will be healed.

19. The sick person says the words "Lord, I am not worthy," etc. with the priest at least once. in a subdued voice. As the priest gives the Eucharist to the sick person he says:

Take, my brother (sister), food for the journey to heaven, the body of our Lord Jesus Christ. May He shield you from the hostile demon and lead you to everlasting life.

Sick person: Amen.

20. If holy communion is not given as Viaticum he says as usual:

P: The body of Christ.

Sick person: Amen.

21. If death is imminent and there is danger in delay, the priest omits all or part of the very first prayers, and beginning with the words "May almighty God," etc., gives Viaticum at once.

22. Afterward the priest cleanses his fingers in the glass of water and wipes them with the purificator. The water is later poured into the sacrarium (of the church), or if there is none, into another decent receptacle (in the house of the sick person). Then he says:

P: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.

Holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God, full of trust we beg you that our brother (sister) may find lasting health for body and soul in receiving the sacred body of our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.

All: Amen.

{The preceding prayer speaks of the Eucharist as a help to the body of the sick person. This is a thought quite foreign to the people in our day, and the priest might find this moment a fine opportunity to comment on it. In the Eucharist Christ once more stands by to complete the baptismal consecration of the body, to heal it, and so restore it to its proper function as the soul's instrument. Over and over again in her official prayers the Church asks for health as one of the normal graces that flow from the body of Christ. It is true, of course, that bodily health is a subordinated good in the process of salvation. But when this good is needed the Eucharist has its part to play. It brings our body into contact with Him who healed the sick when He was on earth, and who may, in a measure He alone determines, again exercise His power and His mercy as the Savior and God who gives life. Little by little the Eucharist brings the body back under the governance of the soul.}

23. If the priest has brought with him another sacred host (and this should always be so except in the above-mentioned case), he puts on the humeral veil, genuflects, and, taking the host in its pyx and covered with the humeral veil, makes with it the sign of the cross over the sick person, without saying anything. He then reverently carries it in procession to the church, in the same order as he came, meanwhile saying Psalm 148 "Praise the Lord from the heavens" and other psalms and hymns as time permits.

24. Having returned to the church, he places the host on the altar, genuflects, and says:

P: You have given them the bread of heaven (P.T. and on Corpus Christi: Alleluia).

All: Which has all delight within it (P.T. and on Corpus Christi: Alleluia).

P: The Lord be with you.

May He also be with you.

Let us pray.

God, who left us in this wondrous sacrament a memorial of your passion, help us, we beg you, so to reverence the sacred mysteries of your body and blood, that we may always experience the effects of your redemption; you who live and reign forever and ever.

All: Amen.

25. He now announces the indulgences which the holy pontiffs have granted to those who act as an escort to the Blessed Sacrament.

26. Lastly he again covers the pyx with the humeral veil, and makes the sign of the cross over the people with the pyx, without saying anything, and replaces it in the tabernacle.

27. If only one sacred host was taken along, owing to the length or difficulty of the journey or the inconvenience of returning it to the church with the reverence demanded (see above), in that case, following the afore-mentioned prayers and administration of holy communion, the priest gives the blessing simply with his hand in the ordinary way, saying: "May the blessing of almighty God," etc. And having extinguished the lights, lowered the umbella, and concealed the pyx on his person, the priest and his assistants remove their vestments, and return to the church or to their respective homes.

28. When holy communion is distributed to several sick persons confined in the same home or hospital but in separate rooms, the priest or deacon should recite all prayers before communion (as prescribed in the Ritual, Part IV, ch. 4) only in the first room. In the other rooms he says: "May almighty God," etc.; "See the Lamb of God"; "Lord, I am not worthy," etc., only once; "Take, my brother (sister)," etc.- or "The body of Christ"; and in the last room he adds "The Lord be with you," etc., and the prayer "Holy Lord," etc. In the last room, moreover, if any sacred hosts are left over, he imparts the blessing with them. The prayers prescribed to be said in church at the very end are carried out in the usual way.

29. The rite described above is observed also when a deacon is the ministrant.

30. Whenever for a just and reasonable cause holy communion is brought to the sick in a non-solemn way, the priest wears at least a stole under his usual clothes. The pyx is encased in a burse suspended from the neck on a cord and secured at the breast. He should never be alone but should be accompanied by at least one cleric or one of the faithful. Arriving at the sick-room, the priest should put on a surplice with the stole, if it was not worn before.

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