Christ Our King Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
Extraordinary Ministers for the distribution of Holy Communion are properly formed, instructed and commissioned lay persons. EMHC’s may be male or female. They should reflect the cultural diversity of our parish community. These ministers are commissioned for the Chirst Our King community, to aid in the distribution of Holy Communion at Mass and to the sick, homebound, or imprisoned when ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are unavailable thereby providing love, support, and care to others.
Ordinary Minister of Holy Communion
Technically, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion is the correct and proper term (the "ordinary" minister being the priest celebrant and deacon(s)). The ordinary Minister of Holy Communion is a bishop, priest or deacon (canon 910, n. 1). However, other members of the faithful, known as Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, may be commissioned to assist with the distribution of the Sacrament as needed (canons230,n.3and910,n.2).
Roles, Duties, etc
At the direction of Pope Benedict XVI, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are not permitted to assist in the purification of the sacred vessels at Masses in the United States.
Training and Commissioning
Annual training sessions begin after the New Year, and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are commissioned on the Feast of Corpus Christi for the period of one year. Annual renewal is necessary.
After preparation for this ministry is completed, a formal commissioning of EMHCs takes place during a Mass setting presided by the pastor or parocial vicar. EMHCs are to exercise their ministry only in the parish or institution they have been delegated by the pastor. An “Order for the Commissioning of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion” can be found in the Book of Blessings, Ch. 63.
Distribution of Holy Communion During Mass (per the General Instructions of the Roman Missal)
"161. If Communion is given only under the species of bread, the priest raises the host slightly and shows it to each, saying, Corpus Christi (The Body of Christ). The communicant replies, Amen, and receives the Sacrament either on the tongue or, where this is allowed and if the communicant so chooses, in the hand. As soon as the communicant receives the host, he or she consumes it entirely. "If, however, Communion is given under both kinds, the rite prescribed in nos. 284-287 is followed. "286. If Communion of the Blood of Christ is carried out by communicants' drinking from the chalice, each communicant, after receiving the Body of Christ, moves and stands facing the minister of the chalice. The minister says, Sanguis Christi (The Blood of Christ), the communicant responds, Amen, and the minister hands over the chalice, which the communicant raises to his or her mouth. Each communicant drinks a little from the chalice, hands it back to the minister, and then withdraws; the minister wipes the rim of the chalice with the purificator. "287. If Communion from the chalice is carried out by intinction, each communicant, holding a communion-plate under the chin, approaches the priest, who holds a vessel with the sacred particles, a minister standing at his side and holding the chalice. The priest takes a host, dips it partly into the chalice and, showing it, says,Corpus et Sanguis Christi (The Body and Blood of Christ). The communicant responds, Amen, receives the Sacrament in the mouth from the priest, and then withdraws."
On the Use of Personal Names During Distribution
In the extraordinary form the formula is more elaborated but with no naming of the recipient: "May the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ keep your soul safe for eternal life." Thus, naming the communicant is not part of the Roman-rite tradition and as such is not a licit practice. While it might appear a very pastoral gesture, some might find that the interjection of the personal element weakens the proclamation of faith that is inherent in this dialogue. In showing the host and saying, "The Body of Christ" the priest deacon or other minister of holy Communion is both stating a fact and requesting an assent. At that moment he is acting as the Church's representative so that the communicant, with his "Amen" affirms the Church's faith not only in the real presence of Christ but in all that the Mass entails. The element of personal relationship introduced by naming an individual could be interpreted as reducing the dialogical proclamation of faith to a more human level. It could also unwittingly stir up division insofar as the minister cannot know all people who approach Communion, and leaving some out might cause offense. Requesting each one's name is likely to encumber the Communion rites.
Norms For The Distribution And Reception Of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds In The Dioceses Of The United States Of America
14. The act of Communion, therefore, is also an act of faith. For when the minister says, "The Body of Christ" or "The Blood of Christ," the communicant's "Amen" is a profession in the presence of the saving Christ, body and blood, soul and divinity, who now gives life to the believer.
Liturgical Norms of the Archdiocese of Atlanta
Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
One of the duties of the bishop is to delegate through pastoral assignment, members of the lay faithful to assist in the distribution of Holy Communion. They are called extraordinary ministers to distinguish them from those who are the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion, the bishop, the priest, and the deacon. In the recent instruction on the Eucharist, Redemptionis Sacramentum,the following direction is given, and I ask that it be followed faithfully in the Archdiocese, not only in parlance, but also where the words themselves appear is as printed text, such as parish bulletins and websites.
This function (extraordinary minister) is to be understood strictly according to the name by which it is known, that is to say, that of Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, and not "special minister of Holy Communion" nor "extraordinary minister of the Eucharist" nor "special minister of the Eucharist" by which names the meaning of this function is unnecessarily and improperly broadened.
Also, the term Eucharistic Minister is to be used only to describe those who are the ordinary ministers of the Eucharist: the bishop, the priest and the deacon. (2004-letter)