Pope John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council in Rome
in 1962. The Council’s first document was the Constitution
on the Sacred Liturgy which paved the way for
many of the changes in the Liturgy of Catholic church with which
we have become so familiar, such as saying the Mass in English
instead of Latin. In May 1969 Pope Paul VI published the encyclical
Memoriale Domini which gave permission
for the faithful to return to the ancient practice of receiving
Holy Communion in the hand or on the tongue. Then in January
1973 the Pope published Immensae Caritatis
which gave permission for Bishops and Priests to designate lay
men and women to distribute the Eucharist as Extraordinary Ministers
of Holy Communion. This was an invitation to serve the community
in a new and heartfelt way, beginning with a willingness by
the individual to be of a greater service to others in the community
and it quickly became a deep personal commitment of faith, a
real dedication and calling.
Extraordinary Ministers serve at Sunday Mass and also, where
possible, during the week. Frequency of scheduling depends upon
a rota which is distributed by the Parish. They may also minister
to the sick and homebound or those in hospitals and care homes.
It is possible that some Extraordinary Ministers will be called
to only serve the sick and housebound rather than in the more
public situation of Mass.
order to become an Extraordinary Minister, the Church teaches
us that the person must be a Catholic living in harmony with
the teachings of the Church, be able to receive the Eucharist
themselves and of sufficient age and maturity to perform the
duties required of them. Ministers must be approved of and confirmed
by the Parish Priest and participate in training for their ministry.
All new volunteers will be required to complete Diocesan Forms
for those working with children, young people and vulnerable
adults. Extraordinary Ministers who visit people in their homes
will require a Disclosure check.
If you have a deep devotion to the Real Presence of Christ
in the Eucharist, this ministry may be what God is calling you
to. If you qualify and are willing to learn more about becoming
an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, then please speak
in confidence to the Parish Priest.