Can couples give out communion at their wedding if not eucharistic ministers?

I have two friends getting married soon. They are devote Catholics and wish to give out communion to their family. They are not eucharistic ministers. Is this acceptable since they are the ministers of the sacrament of matrimony?

They could be deputed to do so by the priest but why would he do that? Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are only supposed to minister if there is such a large number of communicants that the Mass would be too long (5 or 6 minutes is not a hardship) or if the priest is not able to do so for some reason (illness, age, etc). In their plan what is the priest doing?

Your friends would be better to concentrate on the sacrament they are conferring on each other and leave the distribution of Communion to the priest and perhaps, if absolutely necessary, to a friend who is already trained to be an EMHC.

And just in case they had planned it, they should know that they can’t give Communion to each other. Redemptionis Sacramentum specifically forbids it.

I concur. Can they? I suppose if there were 1200 communicants at Mass, yes… But under normal circumstances, should they? Nope.

The instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum would probably answer some of your questions. It reiterates the Church’s position on Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion - which is that “only when there is a necessity may extraordinary ministers assist the Priest celebrant [in the distribution of Holy Communion] in accordance with the norm of law”. Unless it is a very big wedding where the numbers wishing to receive Holy Communion would excessively prolong the Communion procession, I don’t think there would be any grounds for having an EMHC to assist the priest.

Redemptionis Sacramentum also states that “the abuse is to be set aside whereby spouses administer Holy Communion to each other at a Nuptial Mass”.

On the whole, I agree with Phemie that your friends would probably be better off concentrating on the great sacrament that they have just received, and leave the rest to the priest.

It appears common place for EMHC to assist priests and i have never seen a priest do this by himself.
If couples are the ministers of matrimony would this not be a symbol of great devotion to the body and blood of Our Lord that the first act the couple does is to give the most precious body of Christ to each other and then to the community as a great act of faith and witness.
I believe that it is a parellel symbol of the sacrifice of Christ giving himself on the Cross and the husband and wife giving themselves as a sacriface to each other.

Like another said, they might be able to get a dispensation, but good gravy it’s a wildly imprudent thing to do imo. There is already too much of the ME, ME, ME stuff going on in weddings and this is just another step in the overcustomization/experimentation of the Sacraments.

You are right, EMHC’s tend to be used quite a lot - frequently over-used. But that doesn’t change what the Church has directed on the matter. Communion should never be rushed, but what constitutes overly prolonging the Communion procession is obviously a matter of opinion. However, I’ve never played at a wedding where the congregation was so big that it warranted an EMHC or two - in fact, in the case of a wedding, if anything prolongs the Communion procession, it’s the music!

The priest is the minister of the Sacrament of Matrimony - not the couple. He is also the ordinary minister of Holy Communion.

As for the couple giving Communion to themselves (which is expressly forbidden) and the community as a “parallel symbol of the sacrifice of Christ giving himself on the Cross and the husband and wife giving themselves as a sacrifice to each other” - have they not already displayed this sacrifice sufficienty through their vows and the marriage itself? I think what’s proper to the couple should remain so - and what’s proper for the priest celebrant should equally be reserved for him.

yea totally agree with you that there is the too much me me me and secularisation of weddings.
Just think that if it is in keeping with the mass and the devotion of the couple and acceptable by the Priest that this should be a witness of faith and not just another thing to do at wedding. I wouldnt like to see it widespread as it would loose the sacredness of that special moment with Christ

You’re right there - you know, I played at a wedding about two months ago. The organ was situated over to the right of the altar so I could see exactly what was going on! Before the Nuptial Blessing, one of the wedding party (perhaps the mother of the bride or groom, but I’m not sure) had the audacity to ascend the altar steps and approach the priest to ask him to get everyone to extend their hands and give the blessing. The priest obeyed :eek:. I was disgusted and obviously refused to take part in it. I found it interesting, though that while the people at the wedding wouldn’t respond to the prayers and actions which were proper to them, they all wanted a part in the blessing, so they willingly extended their hands…

Aye. As they say, once you let the camel’s nose in the tent…

However, in all practicality, not everyone who attends a Wedding Mass receives Holy Communion. I just survived my cousin’s Wedding Mass last week (I was the one planning the liturgy). While we had about 150 people at the Mass, only about 20-30 went to receive Holy Communion. My father, who is an EMHC, assisted my parochial vicar as an altar server. He did not, however, assist in the distribution of Holy Communion; the celebrant did this all by himself.

What you are suggesting in your second paragraph goes squarely against what Redemptionis Sacramentum mandates:

[94.] It is not licit for the faithful “to take … by themselves … and, still less, to hand … from one to another” the sacred host or the sacred chalice.181 Moreover, in this regard, the abuse is to be set aside whereby spouses administer Holy Communion to each other at a Nuptial Mass.

Remember, too, that the term Eucharistic Minister is reserved only for the priest and bishop since they alone can confect, cause to happen, the Eucharist. They are also the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion.

The vows and the rings are already a symbol of the sacrifices that the husband and wife are willing to make for each other. It is not necessary to add an additional component that will probably cause confusion.

priest told us and did the marriage preparation course that it is the couple who administer the sacrament of marriage to each other and not the priest. am i getting mixed up???

While the couple administers the sacrament, the priest is the Church’s official witness. They need to do this in front of him, or, in some cases, the deacon.

Now, the priest (along with the deacon and the bishop) is the ordinary minister of Holy Communion. Thus, it falls primarily to him to be the one distributing Holy Communion during the Mass, not the couple.

Please note what Redemptionis Sacramentum says:

[157.] If there is usually present a sufficient number of sacred ministers for the distribution of Holy Communion, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion may not be appointed. Indeed, in such circumstances, those who may have already been appointed to this ministry should not exercise it. The practice of those Priests is reprobated who, even though present at the celebration, abstain from distributing Communion and hand this function over to laypersons.258

[158.] Indeed, the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may administer Communion only when the Priest and Deacon are lacking, when the Priest is prevented by weakness or advanced age or some other genuine reason, or when the number of faithful coming to Communion is so great that the very celebration of Mass would be unduly prolonged.259 This, however, is to be understood in such a way that a brief prolongation, considering the circumstances and culture of the place, is not at all a sufficient reason.

Just out of curiousity, are you the one who is planning on getting married and wanting to distribute Holy Communion as well?

Ok - I can admit when I’m wrong! The Catechism does say that “according to the Latin tradition, the spouses as ministers of Christ’s grace mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church” (CCC1623).

However, the Catechism goes on to say that “the priest (or deacon) who assists at the celebration of a marriage receives the consent of the spouses in the name of the Church and gives the blessing of the Church. The presence of the Church’s minister (and also of the witnesses) visibly expresses the fact that marriage is an ecclesial reality” (CCC1630).

So while the consent of spouses is the requirment for conferral of the sacrament, the sacrament is not an “ecclesial reality” without the presence and blessing of an ordained minister.

They shouldn’t unless there is a REAL need for EMHC’s because of the number of people attending, and no other trained, commissioned EMHC are available.

Because they WANT too is not a sufficient reason.

what if the couple were both EMHC’s could they both give out the Body of Christ? Might have to direct the couple to the bishop to get some sort of dispensation.

Thanks everyone for your replies. First time on website and enjoyed the experience. God bless to you all. Will redirect the couple to the bishop i think.:thumbsup:

An ordained minister is not “required”. An official witness for the Church is required but in some cases that can be a lay person appointed by the Bishop.

To be honest, I think the bishop probably has more pressing things to attend to - I would recommend talking to the priest who will be celebrating the Mass. I’m not sure that one could get a dispensation to serve as an EMHC - I assume on would actually have to “become” one - (especially if the reason is simply because the persons involved want to give out Communion) - what I mean is, that if they want to function as EMHC’s, then they should ask their parish priest to direct them to a suitable course or resources to make this a reality.

While I haven’t come across anything which expressly forbids the couple from acting as EMHC’s on their wedding day, it seems to me that in the first instance one should ask if there will be a need for two extra pairs of hands for the distribution of Communion - does the number of communicants warrant this? If not, then Redemptionis Sacramentum, as already pointed out, rules the couple and all other possible EMHC’s out. If the priest doesn’t need help then all present should be content with already having fulfilled their individual roles throughout the ceremony.

But they still can’t give to each other since EMHCs are supposed to receive from the priest.

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