By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
A friend from our parish called and asked my husband, “Steve, are you sitting down?” He said, “I am.” The friend told him that Kathryn Tripp, a parishioner Steve brought Communion to on Saturday nights, had passed away.
The news surprised and saddened Steve because Kathryn, whose nickname was “Boots” (coincidentally the nickname of his late mother), seemed chipper and alert when he gave her Eucharist just four days before she died. He doesn’t remember when he began bringing Communion to Kathryn after Mass on Saturday nights but it became a tradition he looked forward to.
“When I was asked to bring Communion to Kathryn Tripp, her name wasn’t familiar to me. But when I took Communion to her for the first time, I recognized her from seeing her previously at the grocery store and at Mass,” Steve said. “I explained what I was doing and that I’d bring her Communion every Saturday after Mass. She seemed very happy with that.”
Each Saturday before Mass, Steve set out a pyx and his clipboard with a sheet of prayers for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion who take Communion to people unable to come to church. Steve carried the pyx, a small container to hold the Eucharist, when he received Communion during Mass. He also received a host consecrated during the Mass to place in the pyx for Kathryn.
After Mass, our family would drive to Kathryn’s house. Steve would ring the doorbell and enter the house. Kathryn welcomed him with the same greeting each time: “Oh, it must be Saturday!” Steve and Kathryn chatted before and after she received the Eucharist. “I’ll always remember the friendly conversation we had and laughing about the weather,” he said.
“She always thanked me for bringing her Communion but I always thanked her. I told her it was my pleasure to give her Communion,” Steve told me. “I felt like it was something I should do for the homebound. You’re bringing God to someone’s home that can’t get to church.”
He said he could sense how much it meant to Kathryn to receive the Eucharist. “It was in the way she responded to the prayers. That’s what made me feel good. I was making a difference in someone’s life, like God asks us to do.”
Something Deacon Dan Huber of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport wrote in his July 7 column in the parish bulletin made me think about Steve’s service to Kathryn. Deacon Huber said, in part, “…we are sent on a mission to prepare the way so that the Lord can be received by the very people and places the Lord intends on visiting. We help to open the hearts of those we proclaim the kingdom of God to (in) the manner in which we live, serve, work, talk and worship.”
Steve brought Communion to Kathryn on Saturday nights and received in return the gifts of gratitude and friendship. They celebrated Communion with a capital “C” and communion with a small “c.” In Kathryn’s obituary, the family included a note expressing sincere thanks to special friends. One of them was Steve.
(Editor Barb Arland-Fye can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)