Ministries Extra-Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

The ministry of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion is an essential and deeply reverent role within the Catholic Church. Lay individuals are specially commissioned to assist priests and deacons in the distribution of the Eucharist during the celebration of the Mass, particularly in circumstances when there are not enough ordinary ministers (bishops, priest, and deacons) to adequately distribute Communion to the faithful in a timely manner.

The Eucharist holds a central place in Catholic worship, and in many parishes, its distribution is facilitated by a group of devoted individuals known as the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHCs). These individuals carry out an essential and profoundly reverent role within the Catholic community, ensuring that the Body of Christ is shared efficiently and respectfully during Mass.

The term "Extraordinary" differentiates these ministers from the "Ordinary" ministers - the bishops, priests, and deacons - who are the Church's usual ministers of Holy Communion. However, when there are not enough ordinary ministers to adequately distribute the Eucharist, especially in larger parishes or during special occasions, the EMHCs step in to fulfill this sacred duty.

EMHCs are chosen for their deep faith, exemplary character, and devotion to the Eucharistic mystery. They receive special training, after which they are commissioned, often for a specific period, to serve in this role. The ministry demands reverence for the Eucharist, humility, a spirit of service, and commitment to the Church's mission.

Yet, their service extends beyond the celebration of the Mass. Many EMHCs bring the Eucharist to the homebound, sick, and elderly, providing spiritual nourishment to those unable to attend Mass. This aspect of their role is particularly significant. By visiting hospitals, nursing homes, and private residences, they ensure that these members of the Church remain closely connected to the community and the life-giving sacrament of the Eucharist.

The role of an EMHC is not one of status or privilege but is fundamentally about service and love for Christ and His Church. It's a calling to live the Gospel message of love and unity, where sharing the Body of Christ is not only an act of faith but also an act of love, a reminder of Christ's words at the Last Supper: "Do this in remembrance of me."

As we recognize the invaluable service of these lay ministers, we are reminded of the beauty and universality of the Church, where each person, in their unique role, contributes to the Body of Christ. The EMHCs, through their ministry, are no less a testimony to this universal call to serve. They embody the essence of the Eucharistic celebration - unity, communion, service, and love, illuminating the path of faith for all members of the Church.