Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC) are those recommended by their pastors and appointed by the diocesan Bishop to assist with the distribution of Holy Communion or exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. There are three types of appointments:
- Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion at Mass -- Assists when the ordained ministers (priests and deacons) need assistance to distribute communion in a timely manner to those who are present at Mass.
- Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion outside of Mass -- Appointed to bring communion to the sick and elderly.
- Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion to expose and repose the Blessed Sacrament for Eucharistic Adoration.
Qualifications of an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion
When pastors recommend to the Bishop candidates for approval as EMHCs, they should be mindful of the following qualifications (from DNU Policy Bulletin Holy Eucharist 16, December 5, 2007):
- Must be 18 years old and have received all the sacraments of initiation.
- Must be "deeply imbued with the spirit of the liturgy, and they must be trained to perform their functions in a correct and orderly manner" (Sacrosanctum Concilium n.29)
- Must be in good standing in the Church and have no public opposition to Church teachings.
- Should be a public witness to the faith and recognized as such in the parish where they minister.
Appointment, Training, and Commissioning
Appointment: Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are appointed by the diocesan Bishop for a five year term. Pastors should write a letter of intent to the Director of the Office of Worship, which will then be submitted to the Bishop. This letter should designate clearly the type of ministry for which the pastor desires the appointment (EMHC at Mass, EMHC outside of Mass, EMHC to expose and repose Blessed Sacrament). The Bishop will issue a certificate which signifies the minister's appointment for a five-year term.
Training: It is the pastor's responsibility to ensure that EMHCs receive proper training for this ministry. Click the link below for a training booklet put together by the Office of Worship to help facilitate this training, which contains norms and guidelines for our Diocese.
Commissioning: After proper training has taken place, the EMHC is commissioned for this ministry. This is sometimes done during the celebration of Mass at the parish Church after the homily. It is desirable that the newly commissioned extraordinary minister fulfill this ministry at that Mass. The commissioning ritual is found in the Book of Blessings, chapter 63, but may also be downloaded using the link below.