Can only the priest consume?


After Communion, if there is any remaining Blood of Christ, can extraordinary Eucharistic ministers consume this?
Or can the priest and only the priest consume any of the remaining Blood of Christ?


I have seen at my parish that the extraordinary ministers drink any remaining Blood of Our Lord and Saviour and even offer more to the altar severs or each other.


Normally, the remainder of the precious blood in the chalice is consumed by a priest or deacon (as they are the ordinary ministers of the sacrament). If the person holds the minor order of acolyte (which can be only granted to males), they can also consume the remainder of the precious blood since acolytes are given the ability to purify the vessels. Acolytes are the true extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist in the Latin church. However, since most churches are not staffed with a reasonable number of acolytes to meet the given church’s needs, you see ordinary lay men and women “substituting” for an acolyte. In dioceses in the US (at least, not sure about other places), there is an indult that allows anyone acting as an extraordinary minister with the chalice at that Mass to consume the remainder of the precious blood in the given chalice before handing it back to the priest or deacon to be purified. The important thing is that the precious blood is consumed at that Mass. If Father consecrated too much and the priest or deacon (or the occasional acolyte) purifying the vessels can’t handle it all, he can get help with it (usually from another priest or deacon, but not always.


There are NO extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist in the Catholic Church. The priest and bishop are ministers of the Eucharist. Deacons are ordinary ministers of Holy Communion. Acolytes and laypersons can be deputed as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.

There is a difference. .Redemptionis Sacramentum


In the United States…

From Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America

  1. When more of the Precious Blood remains than was necessary for Communion, and if not consumed by the bishop or Priest celebrant, the Deacon, standing at the altar, "immediately and reverently consumes all of the Blood of Christ that remains, assisted, if the case requires, by other Deacons and Priests."55 When there are extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, they may consume what remains of the Precious Blood from their chalice of distribution with permission of the Diocesan Bishop.


Please be more be more specific as to what you mean as “Catholic Church” (as there are 23 different Catholic churches). In the Latin church, acolytes are considered extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist by virtue of their institution. However, in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, deacons are considered the (only?) extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist…

Case in point:

[155.] In addition to the ordinary ministers there is the formally instituted acolyte, who by virtue of his institution is an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion even outside the celebration of Mass. If, moreover, reasons of real necessity prompt it, another lay member of Christ’s faithful may also be delegated by the diocesan Bishop, in accordance with the norm of law,[256] for one occasion or for a specified time, and an appropriate formula of blessing may be used for the occasion. This act of appointment, however, does not necessarily take a liturgical form, nor, if it does take a liturgical form, should it resemble sacred Ordination in any way.


Please don’t take the thread off topic to discuss semantics. It’s not fair to the OP’s question. Thank you all.


As we are posting in the Liturgy & Sacraments forum, and in relation to the OP’s question, I am clearly speaking of the Roman Rite of the Latin Church and no other Eastern Catholic Church in all my responses here.


No they are not. The title of the ministry is Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.

A Minister of the Eucharist, like all Ministers of Sacraments, is the one who can confect it. The only person who can confect the Eucharist is a validly ordained priest or bishop. A Deacon cannot change bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ (which is the definition of being a Minister of the Eucharist)

There is a separate ministry, that of bringing the Eucharist to the community, to offer Holy Communion. In that role, the priest, bishop are deacon are ordinary ministers, but the laity may server as Extraordinary Minsters of Holy Communion, but NEVER as Ministers of the Eucharist, extraordinary or otherwise.

closed #10

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit