Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist
Photo Credit: John Zich
Although the ordinary ministers of the Eucharist are priests and deacons, lay people may be commissioned to assist in the distribution of Communion. Originally intended for extraordinary circumstances, this has now become a common pastoral practice in the United States (See the General Instruction of the Roman Missal 162).
“The purpose of auxiliary ministers of communion at Mass is to assist at the distribution of Holy Communion when the number of ordinary ministers of the Eucharist is insufficient to serve the assembly in a reverent manner. Assigning auxiliary ministers prevents the communion rite from becoming excessively long and out of proportion to the rest of the liturgy” (Archdiocese of Chicago Policies and Procedures 204).
- Assisting the priest in distributing the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ to the faithful during Mass.
- Reverently placing the sacred vessels and linens on the credence table after the distribution of Communion.
- Consuming any of the Precious Blood of Christ that may remain after Communion.
After attending the training session and with the ongoing guidance of the Coordinator of Liturgy, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist will:
- Move in a reverent manner as they carry the Blessed Sacrament to and from the altar.
- Extend the Body of Blood of Christ to the faithful using the words and procedures mandated in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and Archdiocese of Chicago Policies and Procedures.
- Organize the sacred vessels on the credence table after the distribution of Communion according to the rubrics of the liturgical documents.
TRAINING AND MANDATE (Certification)
According to the directives of the Archdiocese of Chicago, all prospective extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist must be mandated (certified) by the Archdiocese. To complete the requirements of this certification, you must attend an hour long meeting which includes a brief outline of the Church's teaching about the Eucharist. These training sessions will be scheduled during the first few weeks for the semester.
Extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist should arrive at least fifteen minutes before their scheduled liturgy and check in with the coordinator, who will be in the vestibule. If you cannot serve at your scheduled liturgy, you must find a substitute from the roster.
- Baptized and confirmed Roman Catholic.
- Regularly receive the Eucharist.
- Exemplary Christian character, committed to the faith, and devoted to the Eucharist.
- Demonstrated interest and involvement in the community's life.
- Wear dress shoes and clothing that is appropriate to the sacred liturgy (“Sunday best”).
- Understanding of particular responsibilities during Mass.
- A sense of reverence and proper decorum.
- Complete a training session.
Fill out the Becoming Involved In Liturgy Form to sign up and get started.
For more information contact Dr. John Paul Salay, Coordinator of Liturgy and R.C.I.A.