Some General Guidelines for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
Bishops, priests and deacons are the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion. However, help is regularly be needed in the majority of parishes. This assistance is given by Ministers of Holy Communion. These ministers serve Christ present in the assembly by ministering his Body and Blood to their brothers and sisters. They may also serve the unity of the worshipping community by taking Communion to those members who are prevented by sickness, old age, or other cause from taking part in the gathering for Mass. In accord with an ancient tradition, it is appropriate for Communion to be taken directly from the Sunday Eucharist to the sick and to those unable to leave their homes.
Celebrating the Mass (CTM) Articles 44-46
Your willingness to serve as a Minister of Holy Communion, reflects not only response to your Baptismal call to serve the people of God, but a commitment to Christ as you share in the preaching, teaching and leading aspects of the church. You offer the Eucharist, recognize the Body of Christ in those to whom you offer Eucharist and ultimately you act as the Body of Christ by fully participating in the life of the parish and the wider community.
Each minister should have one function at a liturgical celebration. Therefore, the person who is a Minister of Holy Communion should not read, collect baskets or have another “job”. In this way, each minister can be truly present to serving God and the Body of Christ in their particular ministry.
If any parish requires information on the formation of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, please contact the Liturgy Resource Centre and we will be happy to offer advice and firstname.lastname@example.org
Some questions for Parishes
Each parish group of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, together with their priests, should draw up guidelines for their particular situation. The following are some questions that could be addressed:
– For how long should a Minister of Holy Communion serve?
– When should ministers approach the Sanctuary?
– How many ministers are needed at each Celebration of the Eucharist? Are different numbers needed depending on the Mass or the Feast?
– Who will prepare the rota? How often will the rota be reviewed?
– What should a minister do if he/she cannot attend the Mass for which they are rostered?
– Will Holy Communion be brought to the sick and housebound after Sunday Eucharist? Who will arrange this?
In preparing yourself for service as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion
– Look at the readings and prayers of the Mass and use them for your prayer.
– Reflect on the people you will be ministering to, those at church, and the sick and housebound. Recall how, with you, they are members of the Body of Christ.
– Ensure that you will be at church in good time to carry out any necessary preparations before Mass begins.
– Follow the guidelines of your Parish concerning where you should sit and from where you should distribute Holy Communion
– Remember to take your time through-out, so that you are truly present.
The following are available in the Download section of this website:
- The information in this section
- Some Prayers and Reflections for Extraordinary Ministers
- Some information on distributing Holy Communion under both kinds
- Prayer Leaflet for bringing Holy Communion to the Sick and Housebound
- Prayer Leaflet for bringing holy Communion as Viaticum
- A commissioning ceremony for Special Ministers