Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion
"Christ held Himself in His hands when He gave His Body to His disciples saying: 'This is My Body.' No one partakes of this Flesh before he has adored it."
- St. Augustine
When the size of the congregation or the incapacity of the bishop, priest, or deacon requires it, the celebrant may be assisted by other bishops, priests, or deacons. If such ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are not present, "the priest may call upon extraordinary ministers to assist him, i.e., duly instituted acolytes or even other faithful who have been deputed for this purpose. In case of necessity, the priest may also depute suitable faithful for this single occasion (GIRM 162)."
Canon 910 provides:
§1. The ordinary minister of Holy Communion is a Bishop, a priest
or a deacon.
§2. The extraordinary minister of Holy Communion is an acolyte, or
another of Christ's faithful deputed in accordance with canon 230§3.
• 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 host.
• As the Agnus Dei or Lamb of God is begun, the Bishop or priest alone, or with the assistance of the deacon, and if necessary of concelebrating priests, breaks the eucharistic bread. Other empty ciboria or patens are then brought to the altar as necessary. The deacon or priest places the consecrated bread in several ciboria or patens, if necessary, as required for the distribution of Holy Communion. If it is not possible to accomplish this distribution in a reasonable time, the celebrant may call upon the assistance of other deacons or concelebrating priests.
• If extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion are required by pastoral need, they should not approach the altar before the priest has received Communion. Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion come forward after the priest has consumed the Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. After the priest has concluded his own Communion, the extraordinary ministers come forward, bow at the centre (together) and approach the sanctuary. The Priest celebrant then distributes Communion to the extraordinary ministers, and then hands the sacred vessels to them for distribution of Holy Communion to the people of God.
• All receive Holy Communion in the manner described by the General Instruction to the Roman Missal. Neither deacons nor lay ministers may ever receive Holy Communion in the manner of a concelebrating priest.
• After all Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion have received the Eucharist, the priest celebrant reverently hands vessels containing the Body of the Lord to the deacons, an instituted acolyte or extraordinary ministers who will assist with the distribution of Holy Communion.
• The proper and only permissible form for distributing Holy Communion is to offer the consecrated bread by saying, "The Body of Christ." No other words or names should be added; and the formula should not be edited in any way. (Cf. GIRM, 161; 284-287).
• If the Eucharistic bread or some particle of it falls, it should be picked up reverently by the minister. The consecrated bread may be consumed or completely dissolved in water before being poured down the sacrarium.
• The sacred vessels are to be purified by the priest, the deacon or an instituted acolyte.
• Once the extraordinary ministers have completed their distribution of Holy Communion, they return the ciboria to the altar for purification by the priest, deacon of instituted acolyte. The extraordinary ministers then head to the credence table and dip their hands in the water, to remove any particles of the Blessed Sacrament that may have remained on the fingers.
Thank you for your willingness to share your
time and talent with our faith community.
If you are interested in serving the community as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, please contact the rectory.