Eme? Emhc?

Has anyone else heard in their parish or used the term EME (Extrordinary Minister of the Eucharist) rather than EMHC?

First of all, there is no such thing as an EME. The Eucharistic Minister is the priest/bishop. This is because only they can confect the Eucharist. The deacon is an ordinary minister of Holy Communion by virture of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. The laity who assist the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are called Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.

Unfortunately, even though Rome has spelled this out numerous times in numerous documents, people still use erroneous terms.

No, none of the many parishes I have been to use either of those terms. It is only Eucharistic Minster (EM) in the bulletin and in common discussion in reference to the ministry.

This is incorrect termniology. The Vatican has repeatedly made statements that the correct wording should be used.

Need for an Appropriate Terminology

In his address to participants at the Symposium on “Collaboration of the Lay Faithful with the Priestly Ministry”, the Holy Father emphasised the need to clarify and distinguish the various meanings which have accrued to the term “ministry” in theological and canonical language.(53)

§ 1. “For some time now, it has been customary to use the word ministries not only for the officia (officies) and non-ordained (functions) munera exercised by Pastors in virtue of the sacrament of Orders, but also for those exercised by the lay faithful in virtue of their baptismal priesthood. The terminological question becomes even more complex and delicate when all the faithful are recognized as having the possibility of supplying-by official deputation given by the Pastors-certain functions more proper to clerics, which, nevertheless, do not require the character of Orders. It must be admitted that the language becomes doubtful, confused, and hence not helpful for expressing the doctrine of the faith whenever the difference ‘of essence and not merely of degree’ between the baptismal priesthood and the ordained priesthood is in any way obscured”.(54)

§ 2. "In some cases, the extension of the term “ministry” to the munera belonging to the lay faithful has been permitted by the fact that the latter, to their own degree, are a participation in the one priesthood of Christ. The officia temporarily entrusted to them, however, are exclusively the result of a deputation by the Church. Only with constant reference to the one source, the ‘ministry of Christ’ (…) may the term ministry be applied to a certain extent and without ambiguity to the lay faithful: that is, without it being perceived and lived as an undue aspiration to the ordained ministry or as a progressive erosion of its specific nature.

In this original sense the term ministry (servitium) expresses only the work by which the Church’s members continue the mission and ministry of Christ within her and the whole world. However, when the term is distinguished from and compared with the various munera and officia, then it should be clearly noted that only in virtue of sacred ordination does the work obtain that full, univocal meaning that tradition has attributed to it." (55)

§ 3. The non-ordained faithful may be generically designated “extraordinary ministers” when deputed by competent authority to discharge, solely by way of supply, those offices mentioned in Canon 230, § 3(56) and in Canons 943 and 1112. Naturally, the concrete term may be applied to those to whom functions are canonically entrusted e.g. catechists, acolytes, lectors etc.

Temporary deputation for liturgical purposes — mentioned in Canon 230, § 2 — does not confer any special or permanent title on the non-ordained faithful.(57)

It is unlawful for the non-ordained faithful to assume titles such as “pastor”, “chaplain”, “coordinator”, " moderator" or other such similar titles which can confuse their role and that of the Pastor, who is always a Bishop or Priest.(58)

This specifically applies to an EMHC:

§ 1. The canonical discipline concerning extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion must be correctly applied so as to avoid generating confusion. The same discipline establishes that the ordinary minister of Holy Communion is the Bishop, the Priest and the the Deacon.(96) Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion are those instituted as acolytes and the faithful so deputed in accordance with Canon 230, § 3.(97)

A non-ordained member of the faithful, in cases of true necessity, may be deputed by the diocesan bishop, using the appropriate form of blessing for these situation, to act as an extraordinary minister to distribute Holy Communion outside of liturgical celebrations ad actum vel ad tempus or for a more stable period. In exceptional cases or in un foreseen circumstances, the priest presiding at the liturgy may authorize such ad actum.(98)

§ 2. Extraordinary ministers may distribute Holy Communion at eucharistic celebrations only when there are no ordained ministers present or when those ordained ministers present at a liturgical celebration are truly unable to distribute Holy Communion.(99) They may also exercise this function at eucharistic celebrations where there are particularly large numbers of the faithful and which would be excessively prolonged because of an insufficient number of ordained ministers to distribute Holy Communion. (100)

This function is supplementary and extraordinary (101) and must be exercised in accordance with the norm of law. It is thus useful for the diocesan bishop to issue particular norms concerning extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion which, in complete harmony with the universal law of the Church, should regulate the exercise of this function in his diocese. Such norms should provide, amongst other things, for matters such as the instruction in eucharistic doctrine of those chosen to be extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, the meaning of the service they provide, the rubrics to be observed, the reverence to be shown for such an august Sacrament and instruction concerning the discipline on admission to Holy Communion.

Therefore, precise language is very important to the Church. She wouldn’t have issued several documents on the subject if it weren’t.

I use the term “extraordinary minister” instead of “Eucharistic minister” to avoid confusion with clerics.

To actually say “extraordinary minister of holy communion” every time I need to refer to an extraordinary minister would be ridiculous.

What is the big deal? Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist or Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. They are both synomenous. They both relate the fact that the Minister is an extraordinary minister and not the ordinary minister.

All of the many parishes that you have been to are wrong. The Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion is the correct title to use because they are only to be used in extraordinary circumstances although this is not the case in most parishes today.

Not if you want to be fully understood and avoid all confusion!

Brenda V.

Have never heard of EME or EMHC. At my military chapel, they are known as “Lay Extraordinary Ministers” (or “LEMs”). Yes, a bit redundant. However it does underscore the Lay (as in laymen) part. In my parish they are just called EMs. Unfortunately, if asked what the “EM” stands for, they will say “Eucharistic Minister” not “extraordinary minister”.

:thumbsup: For once I agree with Rickwood. It is much more common to refer to extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion than anything else. (Although priests conferring confirmation, suspended or laicized priests hearing confession or Anointing the sick are also extraordinary ministers of their respective sacraments when done as allowed under canon law)

From Wikipedia (see here):

Extraordinary ministers were originally called “special ministers of the Eucharist” (Immensae Caritatis, 1973), and were frequently referred to as “Eucharistic ministers” [1] or “extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist” until the 2004 instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum, n. 156 reprobated these usages.

Actually it was the 1997 document Instruction on Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of the Priest issued by the Congregation for the Clergy that noted that the use of extraordinary ministers was supposed to be extraordinary (that laymen were not to be used regularly without cause and that the ordained are the ordinary ministers).

I remember the date so well because after reading the document and noting that we were regularly using a small army of EMs in any ocassion whether needed or not (and after speaking to various people in charge–the director of the EMs, the director of the Liturgy, and the Pastoral Associate about it) I felt that in good conscience I had to resign.

If we’d just call 'em Communion Distributors instead of having fancy, long names for them, all the problems we have with emsHC would simply fade away.

So call 'em EMHCs. :shrug:

I mean, until they get a short nickname like the Petrines or Petes or what have you, the Priestly Society of St Peter is going to be referred to (in writing and speech) after the first go as the FSSP. The Knights of Columbus are routinely called the K of C (which only generally causes confusion with people who like fried chicken). The Benevolent Irish Society is the BIS.

I see no problem with using an abbreviation.

Pastor: There’s a general joint meeting of the city’s K of C and BIS at MQP Parish Hall, followed by a Mass. There’s a coupla hundred at least, so we’ll need a few EMHCs. And they want a TLM, so call St. FX and see if Father JJ from the FSSP is still there.
Deacon: How soon do you need this, Father?
Pastor: PDQ.

Pastor: There’s a general joint meeting of the city’s K of C and BIS at MQP Parish Hall, followed by a Mass. There’s a coupla hundred at least, so we’ll need a few EMHCs. And they want a TLM, so call St. FX and see if Father JJ from the FSSP is still there.
Deacon: How soon do you need this, Father?
Pastor: PDQ.

LOL! “EMHC” wouldn’t work. Each time one tried to use it, it would be met with a “what?”

“Extraordinary minister” works just fine, it’s simple, non-abusive and people know what it means.

They are still called Special Ministers here in our Parish. But then, we’ve been told that we’re 20 years behind the times anyway. We now have 6 new Acolytes in training and soon to be Instituted to supplement the 4 we already have. The EMHC’s might not be needed as much anymore.

The problem started with the original translations of the document Immensae Caritatis allowing Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.

Check out the difference in this translation of IC from the EWTN library and this translation of IC from “The Catholic Liturgical Library” site.

It’s obvious that on the Catholic Liturgical Library site the document has been updated with the different terminology that was ordered by subsequent documents while the EWTN library retains the original translation.

With this in mind perhaps you should follow the Vatican’s Directive and Bring this Matter to attention.

Redemptionis Sacramentum Talks in specific that the term your parish bulletin uses is forbidden. In fact the Vatican is so serious about it that they went out of the way to put it in ink to tell us that. In that same document the Vatican mentions it is our duty as Catholics (lay included) to see that such abuses are corrected.

I wouldn’t quite call it an abuse if someone mistakenly uses the term Eucharistic Minister. :rolleyes:

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