The Book of Common Prayer Table of
Communion of the Sick
Forasmuch as all mortal men be subject to many
sudden perils, diseases and sicknesses, and ever uncertain what
time they shall depart out of this life; therefore, to the intent
they may be always in a readiness to die, whensoever it shall
please Almighty God to call them, the Curates shall diligently from
time to time (but especially in the time of pestilence, or other
infectious sickness) exhort their Parishioners to the often
receiving of the holy Communion of the Body and Blood of our
Saviour Christ, when it shall be publicly administered in the
Church; that so doing, they may, in case of sudden visitation, have
the less cause to be disquieted for lack of the same. But if the
sick person be not able to come to the Church, and yet is desirous
to receive the Communion in his house; then he must give timely
notice to the Curate, signifying also how many there are to
communicate with him, (which shall be three, or two at the least,)
and having a convenient place in the sick man's house, with all
things necessary so prepared, that the Curate may reverently
minister, he shall there celebrate the holy Communion, beginning
with the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel here following.
God, Maker of mankind, who dost correct those whom thou dost love,
and chastise every one whom thou dost receive: We beseech thee to
have mercy upon this thy servant visited with thine hand; and to
grant that he may take his sickness patiently, and recover
his bodily health, (if it be thy
gracious will,) and whensoever his soul shall depart from the body,
it may be without spot presented unto thee; through Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen.
My son, despise not
thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of
him. For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every
son whom he receiveth.
Gospel. St. John
Verily, verily I
say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that
sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into
condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
After which the Priest shall proceed according
to the form before prescribed for the holy Communion, beginning at
these words [Ye that do truly, &c.], p.
At the time of the distribution of the holy
Sacrament, the Priest shall first receive the Communion himself,
and after minister unto them that are appointed to communicate with
the sick; and last of all to the sick person.
But if a man, either by reason of extremity of
sickness, or for want of warning in due time to the Curate, or for
lack of company to receive with him, or by any other just
impediment, do not receive the Sacrament of Christ's Body and
Blood: the Curate shall instruct him that if he do truly repent him
of his sins, and stedfastly believe that Jesus Christ hath suffered
death upon the Cross for him, and shed his Blood for his
redemption, earnestly remembering the benefits he hath thereby, and
giving him hearty thanks therefore; he doth eat and drink the Body
and Blood of our Saviour Christ profitably to his soul's health,
although he do not receive the Sacrament with his mouth.
When the sick person is visited and receiveth
the holy Communion all at one time, then the Priest, for more
expedition, shall cut off the form of the Visitation at the Psalm
[In thee, O Lord, have I put my trust]
and go straight to the Communion.
In the time of the plague, sweat, or such other
like contagious times of sickness or diseases, when none of the
Parish or neighbours can be gotten to communicate with the sick in
their houses, for fear of the infection, upon special request of
the diseased, the Minister may only communicate with him.
Text from The Book of Common Prayer, the
rights in which are vested in the Crown,
is reproduced by permission of the Crown's Patentee, Cambridge