Doesn't receiving only from the Priest rather than the EMHCs mess up the flow of traffic?

I’ve read several posters say they only want to receive from the Priest. While that would be my preference for sure, I wouldn’t know how to go about doing that? We often sit near the very front and are the 2nd or 3rd row asked to get up by the ushers… it’s not like we could line hop without being very conspicuous and we never know which front of the 8 to 10 lines our Priest will end up in? Also, part of me wonders if I’m being diobedient? Our Priest has obviously set it up this way and if everyone insisted on only going to the Priest, wouldn’t it be a big headache for him?

Your thoughts?

I suppose it would depend on the size of the parish and the logistics of how the seats/pews are arranged, how many ushers are used, etc.

It doesn’t seem to me that a few people switching lines to receive from the priest, if that is their preference, would delay things unnecessarily.

True… in a smaller parish or one that has walk-ways in the middle would make it much easier. My parish is quite large approx 800 people in the mass we attend, and in order to get in a different line, we’d have to walk all the way to the back of the sanctuary. Doing so would give the appearance that our entire family was leaving as communion was starting. :eek:

I guess though, the greater question for me is not so much logistics, but rather - what makes me so special that I get to monkey around in the lines when everyone else is doing what they were asked to do? Shouldn’t we just go along with what our Priest has set up even if that means receiving from the EMHC when we’d rather receive from the Priest? Being obedient? That sort of thing…

Easy… our parish has 4 sections of pews. The priest serves the second from the left. That’s where we always sit :smiley:

But what if your Priest didn’t always serve in the same place and you couldn’t tell in advance? Would you change lines?

Our priests routinely switch back and forth to different lines during Communion. So anyone looking to receive from the priest only would have to do the boogaloo to get to him!

I have no idea why they do this.

I dunno, hard to tell… (I don’t know why he would, that seems like it would cause a bit of confusion with the EMHC’s not knowing where to go)

If it was a huge hassle, I’d probably just find a different parish. I recently started going to a parish with an altar rail and extra deacons instead of EMHC’s, so the point is kinda moot for me.

That sounds wonderful. I’m jealous! :o

definitely, and if somebody takes “cuts” in front of me that might delay my getting back to my pew, and therefore packing up to cut out early, by as much as 5 seconds. abuse abuse, citizens arrest citizens arrest.

I’m not certain why this is even an issue. Does recieving only from the priest make the Eucharist more holy? of course not. Then it must be a personal disagreement with the Church having EMHC. But this would then make you disobediant to the teaching of the Church, and I’m certain that’s not the case.
That makes it then some personal choice, to which you are willing to put your own needs above that of the community of your parish. Of course that seems contrary to a lot of Church teaching and the idea that we come to Christ, all becoming what we recieve, in unity as the body of Christ.
Peace. FAB

You could decide which is more important to you, sitting close to the front, or receiving from the priest. If receiving from the priest is more important, you can sit at the back and get in the priest’s line without much difficulty.


Having EMHC’s is an unfortunate necessity, and I understand why the Church has mandated that they can be used. However, they are over-used, and it’s a personal preference for me, I’d rather receive from the hands of a consecrated priest or deacon.

However, at our old parish, if I had no other choice, I’d receive from an EMHC. I’d just rather not.

Also, EMHC’s are not a “teaching of the Church”. It’s not a dogma, it hasn’t been declared infallible by a pope. You can disagree with small things like this without being disobedient. Disagreement and disobedience aren’t necessarily the same thing.

I have no* good* reason for wanting to receive from the Priest… I just do. Part of it may be that receiving from the Priest is the ONLY interaction I have with him other than Confession. Plus it just feels different for me… receiving from him rather than the teenager in a polo shirt. Truth be told, I wish the EMHCs didn’t exist. I’d rather wait in a long line for the Priest than be able to book it out of mass more quickly.

I’d also like it on my tongue and the EMHC are totally flustered by that. It’s almost embarassing. Why on my tongue? I don’t feel my hands are so clean… In the morning I’m dressing kids, putting on their shoes, wiping noses etc. I don’t feel my hands are clean enough to handle our Lord. And didn’t Mother Teresa say something about it making her sad to see us all handling Jesus?

Again, I have no good reason… and I DO want to be obedient and not put myself above others. I just wish it were different is all I guess. :shrug:

The teaching of the church is to allow the use of EMHC. Teaching does not have to be dogma. You can disagree, but we are still called as faithful catholics to accept it.
The use of EMHC I don’t see as a unfortunate necessity. It allows for the faithful to be called to a particularly special kind of service. Since the shortage of preist and deacons is not going to end, te faithful should recieve from the EMHC without making an issue about the practice, even privatly.
By the way, only a priest’s hands are consecrated, not a deacon’s.


EMHCs are not necessary required. They only come in during specific circumstances and their use must follow certain parameters. As noted in Redemptionis Sacramentum:

[156.] This function is to be understood strictly according to the name by which it is known, that is to say, that of extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, and not “special minister of Holy Communion” nor “extraordinary minister of the Eucharist” nor “special minister of the Eucharist”, by which names the meaning of this function is unnecessarily and improperly broadened.

[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.

[159.] It is never allowed for the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion to delegate anyone else to administer the Eucharist, as for example a parent or spouse or child of the sick person who is the communicant.

[160.] Let the diocesan Bishop give renewed consideration to the practice in recent years regarding this matter, and if circumstances call for it, let him correct it or define it more precisely. Where such extraordinary ministers are appointed in a widespread manner out of true necessity, the diocesan Bishop should issue special norms by which he determines the manner in which this function is to be carried out in accordance with the law, bearing in mind the tradition of the Church.

Thus, their usage is limited and not necessarily a requirement. Furthermore, with all due respect, it should not be looked at as another way for the faithful to be involved. Having served as one, I am not at all in favor of our being used for Daily Mass when the number of communicants is so small that it would not be justified. We are called “extraordinary” not because of something we have done, but, because our usage should be limited and not ordinary.

A couple months ago I was in line, and a man appeared to be crossing the next line, and wanting through my line, to get to the row of pews for some reason. A bit confusing to me that someone would be plowing through the communion lines like this - I had to consider that perhaps there was someone ill in the pews that needed help, or who knows what else. I made way, only to have him take his place in front of me in line. When I realized my line had the priest, and this communicant was disrupting my concentration (and presumably that of others) for such a silly reason, I was seriously annoyed. Luckily I had several moments to regain my state of mind and take a more charitable view of things before I received.

So yes, it does sometimes mess up the flow of traffic and the concentration of some parishioners, and if you feel you can only receive from the priest, try to do so with as little disturbance as possible - perhaps getting in line at the back.

I agree… and I am begining to view the use of EMHCs similar to having someone other than a Priest baptize my baby. Sure - it counts, and I’d do it in an emergency of course, but if a Priest is available, I’d much rather he do it.

Yes I know what is says, but the teaching is still that EMHC are allowed. As a practicallity they are a neccecity.
The question is still, why the objection to using a possition which is allowed by the Church. The body and blood of Christ is still the same no matter if it is recieved from the ordained or from the layity who has been commisioned to perform that duty.


Our priest alternates left vs. right and he just points toward the side where the center EMHC should stand at a given Mass. He does this after we EMHC have just received Communion and are ready to serve the parishioners. Because we line up according to species and where we will stand, only the center EMHC needs to pay attention to which direction the priest is pointing to.

And speaking as a EMHC (albeit a very new one), it never occurred to me to be surprised or to take it personally if a parishioner bypasses me to receive from the priest. Our priest is wonderful, and I’d prefer to receive from him, too! :smiley:

One has absolutly no realtion to te other.

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