Exercising multiple ministries in the Church

In my parish, a person selected by the parish priest to be the expert in liturgy .(who is rather inflexible and authoritative), stated that any community member may only exercise one ministry during mass. Some of us were both Lectors and extraordinary Eurcharistic ministers, consequently we were forced to drop one of the ministries. I cannot locate such a directive anywhere and wonder is this is common practice in other parishes?

Yes, it is recommended unless it is necessary for lay people to perform one function during liturgy. I’m not sure of the document.

Looks like it is in the GIRM-

The General Instruction makes it very clear that this variety of offices and roles is desirable and should be maintained. In fact it goes so far as to state: … all, therefore, whether they are ordained ministers or Christian faithful, in fulfilling their offices or their duty, should carry out solely but completely that which pertains to them." Not only, therefore, is it desirable that individuals function in roles of service at Mass, it is clear from the Instruction that if a deacon, for example, is present, the priest celebrant or a concelebrant should not read the Gospel. And the lector should not also take on the role of server and/or extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. There is a wide variety of services to be performed, and it is desirable that different individuals exercise those services so that the talents and gifts God has placed within the Christian community are fully utilized and these roles of service are not monopolized by a few.


He is correct in that when other ministers are available they should share the responsibilities of their ministries. This pertains to being within one liturgy. a person may be a READER at one Mass and a EMHC at another Mass even on the same weekend. But they should not be a READER and EMHC at the same Mass unless no one else is available.

(Lay people are NOT “Eucharistic Ministers”. In simple terms, if you ain’t vested, you ain’t Eucharistic. We are, rather, EXTRAORDINARY MINISTERS OF THE EUCHARIST — just FYI)

We are all called to participate in the Mass. It should not be the ‘Kathy Show’ or the ‘Bill Show’, ever, and we are prone to moving to that when one person is filling so many roles. When one person is doing multiple roles, it tends to encourage others to sit back with the, ‘well, they are doing everything else’ attitude. :frowning:

Inappropriate and unnecessary, I know, but it does come up.

Now, there may be a time when you get to the Communion, and there is a shortage of EMHCs to serve, and if one of the people who served as Lector is convenient, they fall into place to fill that role. It happens, but should be discouraged. :slight_smile:

While it may seem that this person is inflexible and authoritative, it’s easier when you begin with a structure and then deal with the ‘it happens’ that are bound to happen as they arise. But please be generous and fleixible with them. :wink:

Now, what I don’t get is why any one was forced to drop a ministry. You just serve in one capacity for that Mass. You can function in the other capacity at the next Mass.

It appears, though, that the liturgy ‘expert’ in the OP’s parish has misunderstood this to mean that one may only exercise one ministry within the parish, not within a particular Mass. Parishes would surely suffer if that were the case. In our small parish many of the EMHCs are also readers but they are never scheduled to exercise both ministries in one Mass. If they had to pick one or the other we’d surely be short of both. While a ‘shortage’ of EMHCs wouldn’t necessarily be such a bad thing – having only one offering the Cup in a parish where only a small percentage of communicants receive the Precious Blood would probably be an improvement – a loss of readers would really hurt.

I really know that I don’t have a dog in this fight… but I really believe the OP is more likely to have misunderstood the ‘liturgy expert’. What the OP posted was one ministry per Mass, but the OP opted to drop from a ministry. :wink:

Actually, the OP says they were ‘forced’ to drop one.

The priest should be the reader. Lay people should not be handing out communion except in extreme cases; that is also the job of a priest.

A loss of so-called readers would be meaningless. The priest would do it, as he should.

Actually, the rubrics say he does it only if no suitable lector is available and the GIRM defines ‘suitable’ as either an instituted lector or a lay person who is trained to do it.

Interesting. Another way your priests have marginalized themselves. Too bad.

Yes… ‘drop one’

but there is a big difference in serving in only one capacity for the duration of the Mass, and serving only in one capacity at all times.:stuck_out_tongue:

At my church, I may be a Lector at the 8:30 Mass, but I can serve as Extraordinary Minister at the 11:00 Mass… what the OP said was that they were told to ‘drop one’, and now, they are no longer serving as an EMHC, because they are a Lector (for example)

We have to drop one for the Mass. :slight_smile:

Any one in the choir doing a solo? You will not be serving as a Lector for that Mass. But if it is a Mass where you are not doing a solo, you can be a Lector. :cool:

This misunderstanding, I’m betting, is what led the OP to say they had to drop from the ministry and did so for more than the duration of a Mass. :rolleyes:

Is this what you meant to post? :confused:

pro multis, just get out, stay on the traditional forums.

I apologize on behalf of a fellow fan of the EF.

In the EF, these ministries are the domain of the priest. While there is a good argument that EMofHC (yes Holy Communion, not Eucharist, yes it matters), are abused by over use, and all ministries are abused by the ignoring of duly instituted ministers, there is permission for lay participation in the ministry of the priest in the Mass, and it is mandated in the OF.

I thought it was okay, but like, if someone who is a lector and a EMHC, and if he/she is reading at Mass, he/she cannot be a EMHC at the same Mass or vice versa. My uncle is a reader and an EMHC, but never at the same Mass.

Also, I know a lot of people who lector at one Mass, then come back later in the day (or if Saturday night) come back Sunday.

I see no problem with it, at least you’re involved.

From the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) approved for the USA, which can be accessed from romanrite.com/girm.html :

“109. If there are several persons present who are able to exercise the same ministry, nothing forbids their distributing among themselves and performing different parts of the same ministry or duty. For example, one deacon may be assigned to take the sung parts, another to serve at the altar; if there are several readings, it is well to distribute them among a number of lectors. The same applies for the other ministries. But it is not at all appropriate that several persons divide a single element of the celebration among themselves, e.g., that the same reading be proclaimed by two lectors, one after the other, except as far as the Passion of the Lord is concerned.
110. If only one minister is present at a Mass with a congregation, that minister may exercise several different duties.
(My bold text for emphasis.)

If there is only one Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and he is also the only Instituted Lector, then if an Extraordinary Minister is required he should do both ministries in the Mass. Since it has in the GIRM:
“101. In the absence of an instituted lector, other laypersons may be commissioned to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture.”

The Parish Priest decides who does the ministries, if there are no instituted ministers. From the GIRM:
“107. The liturgical duties that are not proper to the priest or the deacon and are listed above (cf. nos. 100-106) may also be entrusted by a liturgical blessing or a temporary deputation to suitable lay persons chosen by the pastor or rector of the church.89 All should observe the norms established by the Bishop for his diocese regarding the office of those who serve the priest at the altar.”

(Lay people are NOT “Eucharistic Ministers”. In simple terms, if you ain’t vested, you ain’t Eucharistic. We are, rather, EXTRAORDINARY MINISTERS OF THE EUCHARIST — just FYI)

Actually, you’re “Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.” The only minister of the Eucharist is the priest!

As to the OP, I think this is the sort of thing that’s up to a pastor, or probably a bishop if he cared to regulate. Unless you have a shortage of people who want to exercise lay ministries, it’s probably a good idea to limit people to one ministry to reduce the impression that there’s an “elite” in the parish, and to curb the ministers’ sense of entitlement. As this guide to being an extraordinary minister says (although it uses the wrong title), for instance, “Archdiocesan guidelines * for invitation to service in this ministry clearly indicate that an invitation to serve …not create an elite in the church community.”*

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