By Ellen Weihe
My view from the pew reflects my experience of receiving the Eucharist every Sunday from the back pew. I am a parishioner of Immaculate Conception Church in La Grange, Ky.
I am 48 years old and for half of my life, I received the Eucharist by standing and walking to the front of the church like everyone else. Twenty-five years ago, however, I was in an accident and experienced a serious head injury that still causes epilepsy with strong seizures.
For many years, I was not able to attend Mass at all. However, eventually I was able to do so, and a friend drives me to church each week.
It was a great blessing when I was able to go to Mass and receive the Eucharist. One time, however, when walking up to receive holy Communion, I had a seizure and passed out. An ambulance had to be called, and this situation caused a total
disruption of the Mass.
Since that happened, I have been sitting in the last pew, which I do not mind except when the priest, deacon or eucharistic minister has to come all the way to the back to give me Communion at my seat. This made me feel guilty, because it seemed an imposition to have someone walk to the back pew to give me Eucharist, and I felt I was taking advantage. In addition, I look perfectly normal with no apparent signs of my disability, and so I became self-conscious that other members of the parish may be wondering why this is happening.
One week at Mass, however, God touched my heart, and inspired me to realize that he is here for us at all times and under all conditions. After having this realization, I wanted to share it with others through this “View from the Pew” in The Record.
God’s action in the Eucharist is expressed beautifully in the Catechism of the Catholic Church #1325: “The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God’s action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and through him to the Father in the Holy Spirit.”
In receiving his body, Christ enables us to see and feel his life given for us no matter where we are. Whether we are at church, at home, in a nursing home or in a hospital, Christ’s gift of the Eucharist leads us to where he wishes us to be.
So, from now on when I receive Communion from my back pew, I will thank God for this wonderful gift that unifies me with the whole church as it sanctifies me in the life of Christ.
Ellen Weihe is a member of Immaculate Conception Church in La Grange, Ky.
If you have a story you would like to submit for, “A View from the Pew,” contact Sal Della Bella at firstname.lastname@example.org or 502-585-3291.