EXTRAORDINARY MINISTERS OF HOLY COMMUNION
Whenever there is a real and sufficient need for the celebrating priest to have assistance distributing the most precious body of our Lord at Mass, he is permitted, in the absence of other priests and deacons, to make use of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. The ordinary minister of communion is always and only the bishop, priest, deacon, and installed acolyte (seminarian). For this reason anyone else who distributes Communion is known as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.
The formation and duties of an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion (EMHC)
The United States Bishops advise "Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should receive sufficient spiritual, theological, and practical preparation to fulfill their role with knowledge and reverence." Furthermore, they "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."
Indeed, there is no greater privilege than to handle the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Should someone mistreat or disbelieve in this sacrament, he or she would be wise to cease acting as an EMHC until all difficulties are overcome.
The Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion may assist the celebrating priest at the weekend Masses as well as on Holy Days of Obligation. Some EMHCs also choose to volunteer to bring Holy Communion to patients at local nursing homes. Some EMHCs also visit parishioners who cannot leave their homes but who appreciate receiving Holy Communion on a weekly or monthly basis.
Distributing Holy Communion to others, whether it be during Mass, in their homes, or at a care facility, is always an occasion of profound spiritual intimacy with our Lord and others.
The period of service for an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion usually lasts two years. After that, the EMHC has the opportunity to pray and discern whether or not he or she wishes to continue serving the parish in this fashion.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, please contact the parish office.
N.B. All those wishing to be an EMHC must receive the approval/permission of the Bishop of the Diocese of Manchester. Once his permission is given, a commissioning will take place at Mass.