Volunteers deliver with a purpose

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 29, 2002

Since 1983 Pat and Marty Burke have been Eucharistic ministers at St. Edward’s Catholic Church. Being Eucharistic ministers entails delivering Holy Communion to those parishioners that are homebound, in assisted living and in nursing homes.

Pat Burke became involved in this service when Father Zenk was the pastor at St. Ed’s.

"We have a ritual we can pray with the person we are bringing Communion to. We don’t have to do the ritual; it is up to the individual. Father Zenk had a prayer made up for those of us who go out to deliver the hosts. We are dispatchers of the hosts," Pat Burke said.

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Pat and her husband, Marty take communion to six parishioners once a month after the 10 a.m. Sunday service. There are nine other full-time Eucharistic ministers at St. Ed’s that also take turns once a month delivering communion.

The other ministers are Jaci Brennan, Chuck Keller, Joe Ott, Dave and Mary Crandall, Eileen Wiebelhaus, Diane Keenan, Marge Murach, and Dick Benzkofer. There are three subs that can be called to help out when needed; they are Bette Peterson, Jan Pickar and Jeanne Sheehan.

Pat said, "We call ahead to see if the person we are going to deliver communion to wants us to come. We do this because sometimes they won’t be around or they may be ill and unable to take communion. Ninety percent of the time the person wants us to bring communion."

The Burkes visit with the parishioners as time allows as often their delivery coincides with lunchtime.

Sometimes they deliver the hosts on Saturday evenings, when they know they won’t be around the following Sunday morning.

"We need more volunteers to help us out. It is something special to volunteer for. We get some training for this. Sister Pat Beck and Sister Francine Bauldner made up a prayer book we can use if we want. We occasionally bring communion during the week to some of the parishioners. It is not a rigid program. You learn how to handle each person differently and if they want to pray with you, that is up to them," Marty said.

Sheila Donnelly can be reached at 434-2233 or by e-mail at newsroom@austindailyherald.com