The following comes from a September 7 OC Catholic article by Larry Urish:
While bishops, priests, deacons and acolytes (those on their way toward ordination into the priesthood or deaconate) distribute Holy Communion, there are an insufficient number of these ordinary ministers to do so without rushing the process. For this reason, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion assist with this sacrament.
“On a normal Sunday Mass at a parish, most of the time you’re going to have extraordinary ministers helping out,” says Lesa Truxaw, director of the [Diocese of Orange]’s Office for Worship. “The distribution of Holy Communion is supposed to be done reverently, with care. It’s not supposed to be unduly long, but we’re not worried about being inefficient with something so important.”
Thanks to the extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion (commonly referred to as EMHCs), every Catholic can receive Holy Communion in a solemn, worshipful manner. For this reason, EMHCs are essential.
This position is particularly necessary in the Diocese of Orange.
“In our Diocese, we’re blessed to have so many people going to Mass,” Truxaw says. “Christ Cathedral draws 9,000 to 14,000 people on a given weekend. In other places in the country, you won’t see these numbers, so Extraordinary Ministers aren’t necessary.”
Most laypeople become extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at the request of their parish’s clergy. To qualify, they must have been baptized, received First Communion and received Confirmation. Future EMHCs are trained in theological and practical matters.
“Practical training includes what you wear, some of the terminology, where you sign in, where you stand and scheduling matters,” says Truxaw. “Eucharistic theology includes concepts such as Eucharist as a meal and a sacrifice, transformation, real presence and the ecclesial nature of Eucharist.”
The number of training hours varies from parish to parish. The names of those who complete the training are then sent to the bishop for approval.
In the Diocese of Orange, an EMHC serves for a maximum of two years. “It is renewable,” says Truxaw, “based on the discernment of the pastor and priests of the parish.”
However, “If [an extraordinary minister] does something notorious or causes the Church to be seen in a negative light, he or she can be removed. This is very rare, but it illustrates how important the position is.”
What a joke, this was planned by the modernists to destroy the Holy Roman Priesthood and it almost worked, thank the Holy Ghost for the return of The Traditional Latin Mass. Lay people with their unclean and unsanctified hands touching Our Lord and handing out the Hosts like Oreo cookies. SHAMEFUL AND HERETICAL!!
The consecrated hands of a priest are HOLY!! When the priest shortage started, and the lay Eucharistic Ministry began– I always wondered why the Church didn’t first ask nuns and brothers to be Eucharistic Ministers, or laymen with special credentials, consecrated to God, leading a holy life! I wouldn’t mind receiving Holy Communion, at the Novus Ordo Mass, from St. Mother Teresa, or one of her nuns! Anyway– I love what Bishop Morlino is doing, in his Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin– saying Mass ad orientem, requiring all churches to be sure to place the Tabernacle on the main altar, up front– and requiring all seminarians to learn the old Latin Mass, as well as the New Mass! Very good! I like that!
Deacons distribute Holy Communion. Their hands are not “consecrated.” Nor are the hands of Eastern Catholic priests.
Deal with that!
No, Matthew– you do not understand! Deacons are all seminarians, PREPARING FOR THE PRIESTHOOD!! You need a deeper understanding of the HOLINESS of the priesthood!
And YES, Eastern Catholic priests are all ORDAINED, and their hands are SACRED,CONSECRATED– and confer all of the Sacraments of their churches! YES!!
At Mass I dress
You act as though
I lead all down
I see my son
But twice a year
He prays and studies
Men laugh and jeer
At Mass I dress
You act as though
I’ll dance awhile.
To pray say yes
Receive and be
These other Christs lay hands
At Mass I dress
You act as though
Why we’re priests
Rank and file.
Through Masses, rosaries
If Christ calls all
They’ll go but not
Support your lies
A meal with lots
At Mass I dress
You act as though
We’re having fun
Three years he’s slaved
Four more to go
Each year he’s
And that’s so we
Can learn and know
His life for Christ
At Mass I dress
And all can be a minister
Where communion acolytes are really needed, is to take communion to elderly limited-mobility people and to the many skilled nursing care facilities in any parish. Most priests cannot possibly “cover” all the need.
But it isn’t as glamorous as running up in shorts or a sun-dress in front of everyone up onto the altar, and handling Our Lord in place of the priest.
The sick, elderly, disabled, and others– who may also be shut-ins– really need to regularly see a priest! That is their right, as Catholics! They also need the Sacraments of Confession, plus Anointing of the Sick! And they need Father to pray with them, and offer comfort and support! My Italian grandfather, when hospitalized many times in his final days, prior to his death– always would tell the priest making hospital rounds– “Father, I need to go to Confession, first, before receiving Holy Communion!” That was very important to him, and to many others! The Church needs to get back to the serious business of practicing Catholicism– and no more false clericalization of laymen!
I recall when young, being sick and hospitalized in a Catholic hospital– the nursing nuns awakened the Catholic patients eligible and desiring to receive Holy Communion, very early, before breakfast, and prepared them. Soon, we would see a lovely little Eucharistic Procession, coming through the hospital halls, with a priest carrying Christ beneath a little canopy, and nuns bearing lighted candles, ringing little bells, and singing Latin Gregorian Chant Eucharistic hymns, softly. Heaven seemed so close to earth! This was a tremendously uplifting and comforting ritual, especially for the sick!
Now, if we had all these people going to Confession regularly, that would be great.
The photo shown with this article raises several question.
The EMCH giving a “blessing” to the recipient brings to question”
1. What authority does the EMCH have to give such a blessing.>
2. In giving this kind of blessing, the EMCH is most probably placing particles of the Holy Eucharist of the (possible sweaty) forehead of the recipient.
I believe the photo shows a lay woman applying ashes to a priest’s forehead.
The purple clothes and the small white dish in her hand are clues. The photo must have been taken at an Ash Wednesday liturgy.
If true, the photo does not depict EMHCs, but close enough.
It does raise the question, though, about why lay ministers are instructed to or feel the need to dress in the liturgical color for the day’s liturgy. Is that an example of the clericalization of the laity?
The photo is not of Holy Communion. It looks like a bowl of (ashes?) in the lady’s hand. Her thumb is dark. .The recipient appears to be wearing a violet chausible. It is a strange picture.
The ritual in the picture is almost certainly Ash Wednesday. For one thing, the ‘container’ on the minister’s left hand appears far smaller than the usual ciboria used in Communion. Also, it appears she has made the effort to dress modestly in something close to ‘penetential purple’, appropriate for the day.
“To touch the sacred species and to distribute them with their own hands is a privilege of the ordained…”
Pope John Paul II, Dominicae Cenae, Feb 24, 1980
There is no need to see EMHCs every Sunday. They are not needed. Parishes have priests and deacons to distribute Holy Communion. An extra 5 minutes to have only the ordained distribute is not unduly prolonged. Most parishes have assistant priests and deacons. They can show up at every Mass right when they are going to distribute Holy Communion and help out the celebrant priest.
Asbury Fox, you may be correct in your claim that some parishes have priests and deacons available. In our area, however, it is unusual for a parish to have more than one priests. He may say as many as five masses on a weekend, plus weddings and funerals. How can he, alone, distribute communion to 500-1000 people at a Sunday mass. We may not like lay people doing this, but the reality is that as we go forward we will see many more lay people doing things that were once reserved for the ordained. Even the one or two nuns who work in a parish don’t likely live anywhere near it. They commute too.
I think one priest can handle 500 people. It would only be a ten minute difference.
If most parishes in your area only has one priest, then there should still be a deacon at those parishes. If most parishes only have one priest, then the pastors of those parishes must do all they can to recruit deacons, so that every parish is staffed with an ordained deacon to help out with the parish life, such as distributing Communion.
As a last resort, if a lay man is really needed, then the priest should chose one lay man to be installed as an official acolyte. An acolyte is an official position for men. One lay acolyte can then help out at all the Masses.
Asbury, this is not a rebuttal, but a search for the practical. My former parish had two priest and one Deacon. At Mass on Sunday there were at least 800 people, not counting the 40 or so in the choir. We divided up the Eucharistic Ministers in a way to accommodate,if you will, each main aisle. Now you need at least two people per aisle, one for the host and one for the wine. That is eight people already. Another two for the choir, and another two for those standing in the back of the church. How many are we up to? Even then it took nearly twenty minutes for communion. On Easter and Christmas we had two masses at the same time, ten to twelve on one weekend. The priests needed a little help.
Bob One, Please stop with the steady flow of very lame excuses and pretending that you are in search of the practical. This is what should be an “essential.” Communion rails should be reinstalled. I grew up, watching one, or sometimes two priests, distributing Holy Communion to a large fully packed church. There was no need to grab Jack, Sue, Billy and Barb to distribute Holy Communion. The priests did this and then Sue and Barb weren’t tempted to think that they were soon going to be priests. There was a reverently expedient flow of people, using the communion rail, it was incredibly efficient in it’s holy practice.
I think that most Sunday Masses should be Communion under one species. Only the Sacred Host given. That takes one or two ministers. Not giving the chalice means no need for EMHCs.
Making a mountain out of a molehill.
But a mole hill can break a dam.
Forgive my not naming myself in the first comment my error, I don’t wish to have my neighbors hands touching the Sacred Host and pretending to be a Roman Catholic priest.
And 500 people let alone 100 how many are receiving without going to confession first??? And not in SIN when receiving that is the prime question.
Janek, judge not lest you be judged! How many receive without going to confession first and who is not in SIN is between them and God, not a concern of yours.
James 5:20 — “Whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”
Admonishing the sinner is a spiritual work of mercy, as is instructing the ignorant.
So it seems to me, Bob One, that Scripture and Tradition exhort Christians to be concerned about saving their fellow Christians from sin. That necessarily involves judgment.
Don’t you see, too, that when you admonish others not to judge you are judging that person and therefore contradicting your own advice? So easy to sling a Bible verse that you don’t understand at someone in an attempt to score a debate point.
Bob One, this is a big concern in today’s Church! Many Catholics are no longer being taught to lead a good life, and to prepare properly, for reception of Holy Comnunion! Many Catholics also no longer believe in the Real Presence of Christ, in Holy Communion! A major TRAGEDY in today’s Church! And unconfessed, unrepented sin affects EVERYONE!! It is a POISON! Our entire society is deeply, tragically affected, deeply wounded— by SIN!! YES– Janek is correct in her concerns– and YOU should feel the same way! Janek is certainly not judging anyone personally!
Actually, what the Diocese needs is Faith. Oh, not just going to the Kumbaya-Mass faith, but adhering to the Mass of All Time, to the Gospel (all of it), to Catholic Tradition (so missing in most of CA, and certainly in Orange County). Time to sell the Protestant monstrosity masquerading as a Catholic Church, too. Turn towards Mary, embrace the True sacraments (at least say the N.O. ad Orientem), and try to use priests that know their single function: to lead their Catholic “flock” away from sin and toward salvation. Oh yes, “sin” is defined per the Ten Commandments and Catechism, you know, no homosexual sex, and no sex outside marriage, that kind of thing.
I’m glad this article uses the correct title, EMHC, not EM (Eucharist Minister). EMHCs need training and some are not. After a cup of consecrated wine was spilled on the altar I saw an EMHC swishing it off with their hand thus drops of Jesus were all over the place. At Christmas, hosts were running out so an EMHC went to the sacristy, got a plastic bag of hosts, put them into a ciborium, and distributed. THESE HOSTS WERE NOT CONSECRATED! Oh well!
Sound like poor training. When I was a Eucharistic Minister I was taught that if a host was dropped I should consume it. My greatest fear was a chalace of wine spilling. I asked what to do in that case and the answer was to turn and call Father.
I still think the blood of Christ ought not to be distributed over carpet.
“C&H”: There should be no wine ever consumed at Mass, except for the priest.
Jesus himself said, “Take this all of you and drink of it”.
Since when did “all of you” become”none of you”… “except for the priest”. ?
Jesus was talking to the Apostles who were bishops. The clergy are the ones who are mandated to drink the chalice. The chalice is not necessary for the laity. The Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus is found in the Sacred Host. Communion under one species was the norm for centuries. The introduction of Communion under two species in the 70’s was a mistake.
St. C, where do you get your training. I’ll bet that in the last forty+ years I haven’t been to communion without both species more than five times. It is the norm almost everywhere, and within the GRIM.
Bob One, Please stop with the steady flow of contrived excuses while pretending that you are in search of the practical. This is what should be an “essential.” Communion rails should be reinstalled. We grew up, watching one, or sometimes two priests, distributing Holy Communion to a large fully packed church. There was NO need to grab Jack, Sue, Billy and Barb to distribute Holy Communion. The priests, did this, and then Sue and Barb weren’t tempted to think that they were soon going to be priests. There was a reverently expedient flow of people, using the communion rail, it was incredibly efficient in it’s holy practice.
More idiocy, “Bob One”? You confuse popularity with requirement, and with reverence. First of all, most things done “regularly” at the N.O. are done with an indult (communion in hand, no kneeling, etc.) This is not the Catholic norm. Further, use of wine at Mass (again, the N.O.), is discretionary and is followed by many bishops and pastors because people expect, kind of like requiring hand-holding at the Our Father (another nutty idea). Some bishops, like Bishop Olmstead and others, have greatly restricted, or forbidden the use of wine at communion. Try to learn more about your Faith.
I’m not a big fan of carpet in church anyhow unless acoustics require it, but I think you are right, C&H, maybe there should be safeguards like uncarpeted areas for distribution from the chalice.
We people in the pews can patiently wait a few minutes for the distribution of Holy Communion & spend that time with the Lord Jesus. That is a preferred time for refection right? Why rush the MOST important part of the mass? NOTE: Does not happen at the TLM. Stop: distribution of the precious blood to all (just priest), reading the bulletins, speakers at the end of mass, which also may help prevent the rush of people leaving early if time is an issue. Let’s face it, hoards of EMHC’s at the NO are not required, they are preferred by priests & lay ‘ministers’ for a variety of other reasons. Sign of the modern times which is sad.
“Thanks to the extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion (commonly referred to as EMHCs), every Catholic can receive Holy Communion in a solemn, worshipful manner. For this reason, EMHCs are essential.”
So without these EMHCs, communion will NOT be given in a solemn, worshipful manner?
I don’t get it.
In fact, although he was not courageous enough to fight back against the reactionary Vatican, Cardinal Sarah was correct in insisting that ad orientem is the proper posture to say Mass and that communion should return to the Catholic norm of receiving on the tongue while kneeling. No wine, and no whining, and no women dishing it out like potato chips, either. Priests and deacons only (with men, in a pinch). People will wait in line at the altar rail a bit longer for orthodoxy. The Novus Ordo Land Mass will go the way of the Dodo Bird.