"In every celebration of the Eucharist there should always be a sufficient number of ministers for the distribution of the Eucharist. When there are large numbers of the faithful present and there are insufficient ordinary and auxiliary members at hand, special or extraordinary ministers properly appointed beforehand should assist in the distribution of Communion." (HLS, #29)
In order for a person over the age of eighteen to become an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion one needs to first reflect on the nature of ministry within the Church. The Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion is the public activity of a baptized follower of Christ that flows from the gifts of the Holy Spirit to help distribute the Body and Blood of Christ to the faithful on behalf of the Community so as to witness, to serve, and to realize the kingdom of God. Your willingness to serve as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, reflects not only a response to your Baptismal call to service, but a commitment to Christ as you share in the ministry of the Eucharist. You offer the Eucharist, recognize the Body of Christ in those to whom you offer Eucharist, and ultimately you act as the Body of Christ by fully participating in the life of the wider community.
Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should receive sufficient spiritual, theological, and practical preparation to fulfill their role with knowledge and reverence, and are required to be practicing Catholics.
"That bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God is the body of Christ. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the blood of Christ. Through that bread and wine the lord Christ willed to commend his body and blood, which he poured out for us unto the forgiveness of sins."
(St. Augustine Sermon 227)
The Breaking of the Bread: Updated Handbook for Extraordinary Ministers
- Paulist Press (2005)
Broken and Poured Out: A Spirituality for Eucharistic Ministers
- Liguori Publications (2002)