Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

“When receiving in the hand, the communicant should be guided by the words of St. Cyril of Jerusalem: “When you approach, take care not to do so with your hand stretched out and your fingers open or apart, but rather place your left hand as a throne beneath your right, as befits one who is about to receive the King. Then receive him, taking care that nothing is lost.”
(#41 Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America)

Extraordinary Ministers
of Holy Communion

“The eyes of faith enable the believer to recognize the ineffable depths of the mystery that is the Holy Eucharist….The Eucharistic species of bread and wine derive from the work of human hand.   In the action of the Eucharist this bread and this wine become our spiritual food and drink. It is Christ, the true vine, who gives life to the branches.  As bread from heaven, bread of angels, the chalice of salvation, the medicine of immortality, the Eucharist is the promise of eternal life to all who eat and drink it.  The Eucharist is the a sacred meal, a sacrifice of love, a sign of unity a bond of charity in which Christ calls us as his friends to the banquet of heaven  (Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds in the Diocese of the United States of America, #4).”

In our Catholic tradition, we believe that the hosts and wine, once consecrated, become the real Body and Blood of Jesus.

Our belief is reflected in the way that we act. For example, when we approach the tabernacle, we genuflect, since we believe that Jesus is present there in the sacrament of the Eucharist. After Communion, we take the remainder of the consecrated hosts to the tabernacle and consume the remainder of the consecrated wine.

The following guidelines are designed for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EM’s) at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Albany.

It reflects the Guidelines set down by the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon as well as our particular practices.

EM’s should be practicing Catholics at least sixteen years old, who have been confirmed. They should have a love of the Eucharistic.

The preparation for serving at Mass begins at home. We would ask that all ministers please read and pray over the Scriptures for the Mass they will be serving.

“All ministers of Holy Communion should show the greatest reverence for the Most Holy Eucharist by their demeanor, their attire, and the manner in which they handle the consecrated bread or wine.”  (from Archdiocesan Guidelines for Eucharistic ministers)

If a minister can’t come on their assigned day, they are asked to call another minister to substitute or call the head host or chalice minister for their team to let them know they won’t be at Mass.

Ministers should arrive at least 10 minutes early on their scheduled day.  They should stop in the sacristy to pick up their medallion. Also, they are asked to please wash their hands just before Mass begins.

At the greeting of peace, the EM’s should line up in front of the altar. When all the ministers are there, they will bow together towards the altar, then file to the left, standing between the steps to the altar and the choir.  After the priest has consumed the body and blood of Christ, the EM’s file up onto the sanctuary behind the altar and wait for the priest to bring you Communion.

Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist should have an attitude of service, hospitality and reverence. We, the Body of Christ, are giving the Body and Blood of Christ to our sisters and brothers.

“Extraordinary ministers may distribute both the Body and the Blood.  As they do so, they announce “The body of Christ” [not “this is the Body of Christ,” “receive the Body of Christ,” or some other phrase]”. (from Guidelines for Eucharistic ministers for the Archdiocese of Portland).
“After each communicant has received the Blood of Christ, the minister carefully wipes both sides of the rim of the chalice with a purificator. This action is a matter of both reverence and hygiene. For the same reason, the minister turns the chalice slightly after each communicant has received the Precious Blood.” (#45 from Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America)

When the faithful in the area a minister is assigned to have finished receiving Communion, the minister should  return to the sanctuary.  Ministers on the musicians’ side should wait for the musicians to receive Communion.