Taking communion to the sick

November 2, 2023

Caption: Barry Finch with Alison Zecchin, General Manager, RNSH

National Volunteer Week is Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteering which recognises the invaluable support that volunteers provide to their communities.

A Volunteer Appreciation Day was held in May at the Royal North Shore Hospital where many of our Catholic Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion were amongst those who received commendation for every five years of service. Among those who attended was Barry Finch from Frenchs Forest Catholic Parish, one of our faithful servants, who has been a valued member of the Catholic Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care Team at the hospital for the past 15 years.

“It is a privilege to have the opportunity to administer to the sick as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion,” says Barry. “I can meet a patient at their lowest ebb, and to experience and witness their faith through so many challenges provides me with renewed strength and commitment to my faith. It is a reminder to the patients that Jesus remembers them.”

Other Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion recognised on the day were Tom West and Margaret Yuen (5 years), Louis Moay (15 years) and Val Arblaster (20 years).


Our committed team of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion continue to show the power of Christ’s presence not only in offering Holy Communion, but also in their prayers and compassionate presence among the sick.

If you would like any further information about becoming part of our Catholic Team at the Royal North Shore Hospital Chaplaincy Department please contact Sue May, Administrator for Catholic Volunteer Eucharistic Ministry, CatholicCare Diocese of Broken Bay on 0448 497 624.

Training for this special ministry

CatholicCare offers a Diocesan Pastoral Care course to provide the minimum 40 hours of training for those who serve as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion in hospitals across the Diocese and/or those who are wishing to gain further skills in their pastoral ministry to the frail or sick in their parish. The most recent course led by Peter Brown (Practice Manager of CatholicCare’s Hospital Chaplaincy & Pastoral Care team) ran for five weeks at Royal North Shore Hospital and was attended by ten representatives across five local Parishes. Some feedback from participants included:

“It has been wonderful to learn, feel and be present during this course. Meeting lovely like-minded people. Knowing how important volunteering will be to others. Using our “gifts”.”

“Very encouraging for my faith. A real pleasure meeting and sharing myself with the other parishioners/students.”

“I thank God for being able to do this pastoral course and for the inspiration in going forward.”

“Thank you all for kind and compassionate sharing of knowledge of God in self and in others.”

For more information about our Diocesan Pastoral Care course, please contact Peter Brown on 0418 616 602.

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