An Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion assists the priest in the distribution of the Body and Blood of Christ at Mass. Training is provided using guidelines set forth by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion Guidelines
The formation of the People of God and the ministers of the altar must, therefore, be unlike any other educational endeavor. Liturgical formation “must above all be spiritual,” though a familiarity with the rites and patterns of the prayer of the Mass is essential. Good liturgy is the product not so much of a well-known rubric as much as a well-trained heart. (Introduction to the Order of Mass)
In this ministry, you must be examples of Christian living in faith and conduct; you must strive to grow in holiness through this sacrament of unity and love. Remember that, though many, we are one body because we share the one bread and one cup. As ministers of Holy Communion be, therefore, especially observant of the Lord’s command to love your neighbor. For when he gave his body as food to his disciples, he said to them: “This is my commandment, that you should love one another as I have loved you.” (Book of Blessings # 1875)
- Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are scheduled for weekend Masses under the direction of the Director of Music & Liturgy at Old St. Mary, with the automated scheduling system Ministry Scheduler Pro. Scheduling of Mass times, how often per month, etc., is at the discretion of the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.
- Each minister is responsible to update their own profile in the system Ministry Scheduler Pro on a regular basis; when you can serve or when you will NOT be available during a given month.
- An automated monthly schedule is made available to all ministers. If you are unable to serve on a day you are scheduled, it is your responsibility to find a substitute through Ministry Scheduler Pro. If you have trouble at any time you can email or call Director of Music & Liturgy to assist you.
Appropriate attire is expected for all ministers at all times. You are asked to be neat and presentable when carrying out your important ministry. It would be advisable to come to church ready to serve whether you are scheduled or not.
Men are encouraged, but not required, to wear ties. A nice sport shirt, sport coat, suit, sweater, etc. and dress slacks are fine.
Women are encouraged to dress neatly. Do not wear anything that is distracting or inappropriate in church. Clothing that is low cut, showing the midriff, too short or bares the shoulders or back is not appropriate dress for women in church at any time.
Not acceptable attire is anything that is attention grabbing. This would include revealing clothing, shirts with printing on them, or flashy earrings. At no time is ANY denim acceptable.
Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion who are scheduled for Mass should check in with the sacristan before Mass begins. Please do this at least 10-15 minutes before Mass begins.
- After the “Sign of Peace” the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion approach the sanctuary.
- Two Extraordinary Ministers (plus the presider) will distribute the Body of Christ (bread).
- Four Extraordinary Ministers will distribute the Blood of Christ (cup).
- The ministers distributing the Body of Christ (bread) should stand on the right (south) side of the altar. The ministers who will be distributing the Blood of Christ (cup) should stand on the left (north) side of the altar.
- The presider will raise the host and say, “Behold the Lamb of God….” All remain standing as they say, “Lord, I am not worthy…”
- After the presider has received the Body and Blood of Christ, he will distribute the same to all ministers, first on the north side of the sanctuary. This will include the altar servers and ministers of the Blood of Christ (cup). The presider first distributes the Body of Christ on the north side. Then he goes back to the Altar and picks up the cups with the Blood of Christ, along with the purificators, and hands them to each Extraordinary Minister of the cup. After the presider has given the minister the cup and purificator, they may consume if they wish.
- The presider will then serve the Body of Christ to the Extraordinary Ministers of the bread on the south side. The first Extraordinary Minister of the cup will go the south side of the altar to share the Blood of Christ to the other ministers, cantor, etc.
- When all the ministers have received Holy Communion, the priest will hand ciboria to each of the Extraordinary Ministers of the bread. All Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion now go to their distribution places:
- One minister of the bread stands directly in front of the altar in the center aisle next to the presider. The other minister of the bread distributes the Body of Christ to any persons of special need in the nave of the church, then goes up to the choir loft to distribute to people in the pews, choir members, instrumentalists, etc. The pyx on the organ is for the organist to receive Holy Communion.
- Four (4) ministers distribute the Blood of Christ. Two ministers stand at each end of the communion rail (in front of the confessional) with their backs to the wall, and the side of their foot slightly touching the bottom step in front of the communion rail. The other ministers stand in front of the first pew, at the halfway point of the length of the pew.
- Ministers of the cup, please be aware of the elderly or persons of special need sitting in the front pew. Holy Communion should be brought to the pew for these people.
- As people come forward to receive Holy Communion, look the person in the eye, raise the host or cup and say only the following four words, “The Body of Christ” or “The Blood of Christ.” Do not use people’s names or alter this formula.
- For those distributing the Blood of Christ: After the communicant hands the cup back to you, wipe both sides of the rim with the purificator and turn the cup slightly before offering it to the next person.
- When all Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are finished distributing Holy Communion: Those who have distributed the Body of Christ (bread) place their ciborium on the right (south) side of the altar. Those who have distributed the Blood of Christ (cup) take their cup and purificator into the south sacristy to the counter next to the sink. If you are able to do so, please consume the remaining Blood of Christ and place the cup next to the sink. If you cannot consume the remaining Blood of Christ, please leave the cup next to the sink with the purificator covering it. Return to your place in the assembly.
NOTE: If you, as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, happen to be Lector #2, exit the sanctuary, go into the south sacristy and proceed to the north sacristy via the back tunnel. Stand inside the north sacristy and wait for the presider to sit down. Then proceed to the ambo for reading of the announcements. After reading the announcements, return to your place in the assembly.