But choosing the Eucharist to serve holds a special place in my heart, a bridge to my past and our family’s history.
by Patti Eischen
I had long wondered what a “moment of grace” that others have referenced would feel like, until one day at Mass, I experienced one. I now know that warm, glow-y sensation.
My eldest daughter, Emily, agreed to be a Eucharistic minister at our home parish. On this particular weekend, she was scheduled to serve in this capacity at her first Mass. This is the same parish/school that she attended and participated in First Confession, First Holy Communion, Confirmation, as well as an altar server. Her 8th grade diploma was awarded to her from the very same altar.
While having a child volunteer to serve in this way perhaps is not that surprising, considering many of them, this one included, spent 12 years in Catholic school. But choosing the Eucharist to serve holds a special place in my heart, a bridge to my past and our family’s history.
My own father served in our family’s parish in this same capacity. It was always so special to see my dad up there receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord. Even more special to be in dad’s “line” to receive the same from him. I just now wondered what he must have thought when he presented the host or the cup to each of his three daughters. Perhaps he had a moment of grace too, but that I will never know.
My dad, Pat, for whom I was named, died suddenly, two months to the day before his 53rd birthday.
After the shock, the burial, the mourning, our family attempted to get back to a new normal. I learned that my dad was scheduled to help with Eucharist for the next three calendar months after his death. I contacted the coordinator and told him that if I could be trained, I would take my dad’s spot and they wouldn’t have to re-arrange scheduling. They wouldn’t even have to re-do the calendar at all, since the initials were same!
So it was done. I was trained and stood in for my dad for the next three months. I continued to assist with the Eucharist at that parish for many years after as well as in other parishes.
And so, it was bittersweet this Sunday to receive communion from my daughter. I switched positions so I could be in her line. When she offered me the cup saying, “Blood of Christ” it was with renewed spirit I was happy to say, “I believe.”
I purposefully touched her hand with affection when she handed me the chalice. She is the exact same age I was when I began as a Eucharistic minister.
Perhaps it was the warmth of the wine, but I’d like to think that warm, glow-y feeling was that moment of grace. We all are bridges from the past into the future.