What is an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion?
An Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion is a Baptised and Confirmed member of the Parish who has been invited to offer this particular service to the Parish Community of ministering the Body and Blood of Christ to their brothers and sisters in the Liturgy. Like any Baptised member of the Church, they are called to imitate the love of the Lord by their words and deeds; their particular ministry is for the good of others, enabling the worshipping Community to receive the Lord’s Body and Blood in a reverent and worthy manner.
The role of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion appears simple enough – to minister the Body and Blood of Christ to the assembled faithful and to take the Eucharist to sick and/or housebound parishioners, who are unable to get to Mass. Their own personal love of the Eucharist will, however, be deepened by reflection and prayer , so that they may be more effective ministers of the Sacrament to others and thereby help to build up the Body of Christ, which is the Church.
Yours is a share in the work of the Lord’s Spirit who makes of us one bread, one body, the cup of blessing. Yours is a work of ministering Christ’s body and blood to the body of Christ, the Church. Yours is service at the Lord’s reconciling table. You minister holy food to holy people in the holiest of all communions.
Yours is a Share: The Call of Liturgical Ministry, by Austin Fleming, 1985. The Pastoral Press, Washington, DC
What Skills are Needed?
Those who serve as Ministers of Holy Communion should bring a strong faith, a sense of reverence for the Sacrament and a desire to be of service to their brothers and sisters in the Faith.
Whether in the distribution of Holy Communion during Mass, or when visiting the Housebound, the ‘Minister will be called upon to exercise care and respect for others, as well as an awareness of the dignity of the sacrament which they minister.
What training is required?
Training is offered in cooperation with the local Pastoral Area under the guidance of the Archdiocese. Training is not merely in the ‘practicalities’ of the Ministry but is also aimed to develop a spirituality centred upon the living out of the Eucharist in our daily lives. Archdiocesan requirements regarding CRB Disclosure and Safeguarding apply to this Ministry.
The Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion is commissioned by the Bishop to serve in a particular Parish or Area for a given period of time ( at present 4 years ); at the request of the Parish Priest, this commissioning may be extended.
What about time commitment?
The co-ordinator will enquire which Mass(es) a Minister would normally attend, and also when they are able to minister to the sick and housebound. The co-coordinator creates rotas based on this information.
Occasionally, a meeting of all Ministers may be called; this may be as a period of reflection and prayer on the ministry and/or to share any Archdiocesan or Parish information directed particularly to the Ministers themselves.
Ministry to the Sick and Housebound
The sick or housebound would normally make contact with the Parish Office, who would then arrange for one of the ministers to visit.
Visits are normally made after a weekend Mass but can be arranged for other times as the need arises.