I love being a deacon for many reasons. But one of the things that is always a blessing is something I’ve been doing most of my adult life, even before being ordained a deacon: distributing Communion at Mass. It is one of the most profound and moving experiences of ministry.
At my current parish we have been encountering growing numbers of parishioners over the last couple of years, so much so that we’ve had to adapt our normal arrangements for communion to meet this need. At our most highly attended Masses, after I distribute the Precious Blood to other communion ministers, I take a ciborium and head to our “cry room”. Then I walk to the back of the Church and up the stairs to the choir loft, which is actually used for overflow seating (the choir is down near the altar), and then I go back downstairs and take a position at the back of the Church and begin distributing communion back there.
What I have come to love about doing this is that it feels very “diaconal” to be taking Christ to people who are “in the back” for a variety of reasons. Some are there because the want a head start getting to the parking lot after Mass; but they are there. Others are back there because they have little children and they want to be able to do what might be needed if the kids get fussy during Mass; but they are there. Still others are there because they were running late or because they don’t like to move toward the front for some reason; but they are there.
Normally we take a position somewhere near the sanctuary and remain statically in place while people come to us for Communion. What I find wonderful is the idea of a minister going out to where the people are. It communicates so well that, not only during Mass but at all times, we are to carry Christ to wherever he is most needed, and not simply wait for people to come forward.
Gotta love it!