EMHC and schedules


#1

I know that the very use of EMHCs is a very controversial topic on this formum and i don't want to get into a discussion about whether EMHCs should be used or how large of a crowd is required for their use.... but one thing I've noticed is that, in my experience, in most parishes, EMCHs serve according to a particular posted schedule and priests will never deviate from this schedule regardless of how well attended the mass actually is. For example, let's say that the 7 PM Sunday night mass has 3 scheduled EMHCs and typically attracts a crowd of 300. One particular Sunday the priest and everyone else can see that only 50 people actually showed up...yet the 3 scheduled EMHCs still assist the priest just as if 300 people were actually in attendance. This is the norm, not the exception, in any diocese/parish I've ever observed. Is there a fear that it would hurt the EMHCs feelings if the priest discreetly whispered to them that the small crowd does not warrant their services?


#2

I suspect it's habit more than anything. Everyone's just going according to the schedule and no one stops and thinks about whether they need that many people. Humans, priests included, often tend to follow the way we've been doing things even if it's not needed!


#3

I've never seen a mass where 500 people show up usually deviate by more than 100 either side.


#4

[quote="triumphguy, post:3, topic:342191"]
I've never seen a mass where 500 people show up usually deviate by more than 100 either side.

[/quote]

You've never been around Denver on super bowl Sunday when the Broncos are playing. ;)


#5

[quote="Usige, post:4, topic:342191"]
You've never been around Denver on super bowl Sunday when the Broncos are playing. ;)

[/quote]

OK:p


#6

[quote="triumphguy, post:3, topic:342191"]
I've never seen a mass where 500 people show up usually deviate by more than 100 either side.

[/quote]

College town churches can do this around the holidays.


#7

At my college "parish" (in Denver :D ) we used to have a schedule for two EMHCs because we never knew if the regular deacon would be there or not, or even whether or not we might have no need for them at all. We never had any problems of feelings being hurt or anything like that :shrug: I'd assume it's just human habit or even just laziness if they aren't adjusting the number of EMHCs as needed.


#8

I've had experience scheduling EMHCs and have had this conversation but rather than a drop in attendance it was the presence of a few concelebrants that we were talking about. That one seems even more clear-cut but the anger that resulted at being told they should step aside for a priest surprised me.

My conclusion is that they have been so conditioned to think that being an EMHC is their right (and one former pastor supported that thinking by saying they had a right to be there) that they feel they are being discriminated against if they aren't allowed to act as such when scheduled. Pastors won't tick them off by telling them to step aside.


#9

Perhaps it is related to the priest having a desire to distribute the precious blood and not leave any on the altar. So if he already has poured and consecrated too much, he still has the EMHC come up to cover all the stations?

When there are no stations for precious blood, I've seen that priests are more flexible in reducing distribution points on the fly.


#10

[quote="Phemie, post:8, topic:342191"]
I've had experience scheduling EMHCs and have had this conversation but rather than a drop in attendance it was the presence of a few concelebrants that we were talking about. That one seems even more clear-cut but the anger that resulted at being told they should step aside for a priest surprised me.

My conclusion is that they have been so conditioned to think that being an EMHC is their right (and one former pastor supported that thinking by saying they had a right to be there) that they feel they are being discriminated against if they aren't allowed to act as such when scheduled. Pastors won't tick them off by telling them to step aside.

[/quote]

Goodness! Sometimes we have both deacons at Mass, instead of the usual one, and there's never been a problem about one of the EMHCs standing down.

Maybe some parishes need to have a meeting and remind the EMHCs of exactly what their role is -- and is not. If you start thinking it's your right, it's time to take a break.


#11

[quote="agnes_therese, post:10, topic:342191"]
Goodness! Sometimes we have both deacons at Mass, instead of the usual one, and there's never been a problem about one of the EMHCs standing down.

Maybe some parishes need to have a meeting and remind the EMHCs of exactly what their role is -- and is not. If you start thinking it's your right, it's time to take a break.

[/quote]

Yes indeed. The number of priests varies from day to day at our parish daily Mass so when the time comes, we EMHC frequently have to judge how many of us are needed, (as one or two of the concelebrants are too frail to give out Communion) and who will go up. It's all done very calmly and amicably with nods and smiles.. Quite honestly, I suspect most of are glad when we don't have to, and can just relax and pray. I can't imagine getting nasty over it.


#12

[quote="DarkLight, post:6, topic:342191"]
College town churches can do this around the holidays.

[/quote]

But, unless the priest is brand new, they know how the crowd ebbs and flows.

We are a college town. Our pastor can tell us what the crowd will be based on a home or away game, holiday or not.

He is very rarely surprised.

He also has no problem asking for another EMHC to come up or to send one back to their seat.


#13

When I was in charge of scheduling EMs I would explain to them that if additional ordinary ministers were on the altar that they would not be needed. Most of the time no one's feelings were hurt if they could not serve. Our priests also were not adverse to telling EM's they were not needed. If extra EM's came up the priest would simply give them communion and then ask them to go back to their seat.


#14

In my experience, I have both ends of the spectrum happen. One end where EMHCs have gotten angry that they cannot distribute communion, and the other end where EMHCs have asked if they are needed as they see seminarians, deacons, priests who are visiting in the sacristy.

In the end I think it comes down to the disposition of the individuals. In my parish, the pastor is the one who tells EMHCs when they are not required and I think that having him make the decision is a huge part in the culture of the EMHCs. If you think that you need to change the culture of EMHCs thinking in your parish, then perhaps you are the voice of reason that is needed.


#15

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