Catholic Church Kilsyth


Eucharistic Ministers or Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

A Eucharistic Minister  holds out the EucharistAlthough the terms "Eucharistic Minister" and “Communion Minister” are commonly used, in fact the correct term is an “Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion” (EMHC). The only Minister of the Eucharist at Mass is in fact the Priest.

Since the Second Vatican Council the widespread use of Extraordinary Ministers at Mass and other Eucharistic Services is a revival of an ancient privilege that belonged to the laity from the foundation of Christianity up to the 8th century. At that time it was normal procedure for lay people to distribute the Eucharist at home, in case of necessity, and to the sick.

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.

In 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.

God BlessYou!