Extradordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

How many EM’s is too many? As I have mentioned before, our parish has about three-thousand families, and our new church seats fifteen hundred, at least. So…I counted 22 EM’s Sunday, one priest, and if there had been a deacon, I would have added him in, too. When the priest and deacon are both there, there are at least twenty-four distributors. That seems excessive to me, even though I know it takes time to serve fifteen-hundred plus people in a timely manner.


I think we have two cups for every one bread, or something close to that.


What do you guys think?

Sounds like too many to me.

At my parish the church holds between 800 and 900 in an awful half-circle layout. There are 12 stations total (1-2 for the priest and deacon-when he’s part of Mass) and 10-11 EMHCs. It looks like an invading force heading towards the alter after the Lamb of God is proclaimed.

The ratio of two cups for every host station is pretty much the norm. My parish church seats 950. At our most heavily attended Mass (bout 800 people) we have four stations for the hosts and six for cups. That’s 10 people distributing communion (the priest is one and, if one of the two deacons is present he accounts for another). Distrubution takes about 15 minutes. So, if the pastor is trying to keep to 15 minutes for communion it would take nearly twice as many – not more than twice as many ministers. My guess is that 18 to 20 should be sufficient. If, however, the pastor is working toward a 10 minute window, then more would be necessary.

There are, of course, logistical questions: how is the church laid out? How close together are the Masses? What’s the parking situation like? All of these and more go into the question of how long the Mass can realistically go.

Deacon Ed

Ed-That’s great that you have good crowds at your Masses. Serving in a small rural parish, the only time that I get to see a big crowd is when bishop celebrates the Chrism Mass. Then, there are so many priests and deacons that all the stations are covered, with more help ready if needed.

God bless

Please post articles for me to read on the need for EMHC in 1960.

Silly me, I forgot we had alot of priests back then.

[quote=Deacon Ed]The ratio of two cups for every host station is pretty much the norm. My parish church seats 950. At our most heavily attended Mass (bout 800 people) we have four stations for the hosts and six for cups. That’s 10 people distributing communion (the priest is one and, if one of the two deacons is present he accounts for another). Distrubution takes about 15 minutes. So, if the pastor is trying to keep to 15 minutes for communion it would take nearly twice as many – not more than twice as many ministers. My guess is that 18 to 20 should be sufficient. If, however, the pastor is working toward a 10 minute window, then more would be necessary.

There are, of course, logistical questions: how is the church laid out? How close together are the Masses? What’s the parking situation like? All of these and more go into the question of how long the Mass can realistically go.

Deacon Ed
[/quote]

The pews in our new church are arranged in a kind of half-circle. The Altar platform is large, and extends into this circle…sort of. The distributors stand around the altar steps…it is a half circle.

It might be necessarty to have 22-14 EM’s, but it just looks awful, and feels worse. Because my grandson, who attends Mass with me, always wants a blessing from the priest (he is only six), we always sit where we know the priest will be distriubting. We sit in the very front row, and getting back to our seats is awkward, to say the least.

[quote=Steve Green]Please post articles for me to read on the need for EMHC in 1960.

Silly me, I forgot we had alot of priests back then.
[/quote]

Steve,

Yup, more priests, fewer Catholics and communion under one species only. And, of course, as the day went on fewer and fewer Catholics went to communion because of the fast. I well remember the noon Mass where only the priest and altar servers went to communion. Yup, hardly needed EMHC then…

Deacon Ed

[quote=Deacon Ed]Steve,

Yup, more priests, fewer Catholics and communion under one species only. And, of course, as the day went on fewer and fewer Catholics went to communion because of the fast. I well remember the noon Mass where only the priest and altar servers went to communion. Yup, hardly needed EMHC then…

Deacon Ed
[/quote]

While in absolute terms there are more Catholics today, a lot fewer of them attend Mass.

"Declines in religious participation were striking, from 74% of Catholics attending mass weekly in 1958 to 51% in 1982. " [Elsewhere Roman Cath. % of total pop. 1950s 22%. This times 74% yields 16.28% of total pop. is RCs who attend weekly.]
adherents.com/Na/Na_133.html#715

“…communion under one species only”–we could return to that to speed up communion if necessary.

The fast wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, in fact I think it was a good thing and I practice it myself today. It doesn’t seem like much compared to the sacrifice on the altar.

[quote=SnorterLuster]While in absolute terms there are more Catholics today, a lot fewer of them attend Mass.

"Declines in religious participation were striking, from 74% of Catholics attending mass weekly in 1958 to 51% in 1982. " [Elsewhere Roman Cath. % of total pop. 1950s 22%. This times 74% yields 16.28% of total pop. is RCs who attend weekly.]
adherents.com/Na/Na_133.html#715

“…communion under one species only”–we could return to that to speed up communion if necessary.

The fast wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, in fact I think it was a good thing and I practice it myself today. It doesn’t seem like much compared to the sacrifice on the altar.
[/quote]

The fast isn’t a problem – it’s still used in the Eastern Catholic Churches (although the word “requirement” doesn’t fit in Eastern theology). In terms of actual numbers at Mass, there are more people attending Mass today than in the 50s and 60s. Granted, it’s a smaller percentage of Catholics (in my parish it’s about 30% of the registered members).

Since the Church has determined that offering communion under both species is a good thing, I don’t see how we can simply discount what the Church says in an effort to speed things up. This is why EMHCs are permitted – to avoid unduly lengthening the time of Mass.

Deacon Ed

[quote=Catholic Heart]How many EM’s is too many? As I have mentioned before, our parish has about three-thousand families, and our new church seats fifteen hundred, at least. So…I counted 22 EM’s Sunday, one priest, and if there had been a deacon, I would have added him in, too. When the priest and deacon are both there, there are at least twenty-four distributors. That seems excessive to me, even though I know it takes time to serve fifteen-hundred plus people in a timely manner.

I think we have two cups for every one bread, or something close to that.

What do you guys think?
[/quote]

1 is too many for me. If there were only two priests handing out hosts to an entire congregation, it would only take 5 more minutes…tops.

The lengths we go to make the Mass as short as possible should not include an increased dependence on a temporary ministry that is supposed to exist *only *as an exception.

Deacon Ed, please tell us what document says that the church says it’s “a good thing”.

It is allowed, but DEFINITELY NOT REQUIRED. In fact, up until 2003, it wasn’t even allowed, under ordinary circumstances.

To the best of my knowledge, it’s not “the Church” (Rome, Magisterium, Sacred Congregation), it’s the individual bishops that require (or prohibit) this. (please correct me if I’m wrong).

Problem is, it doesn’t reinforce the Catholic teaching (that any tiny particle of a consecrated host includes the entire body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ). Again, another act in the mass that DOES reinforce protestant theology.

So, Deacon Ed, we add something completely unnecessary (the Precious Blood required, by an individual bishop, to be offered) then make a new position in the church (and in the sanctuary, and touching the sacred species, which has become so regularly desecrated) so we can accomodate it?

And, by the way, THE ONLY VALID REASON FOR ADDING EMHC’S is to speed up the distribution of communion!

The true reason for bishops REQUIRING the distribution of the Precious Blood at every mass? To get women and ANYONE up into the sanctuary so we can get used to ANYBODY being up there. So feminists can get up there and then expect the next step… priesthood. “I can touch it and distribute it and say “the body of Christ”, why can’t I consecrate it?”

That’s the truth.

Angel

[quote=Angels Watchin]Deacon Ed, please tell us what document says that the church says it’s “a good thing”.

It is allowed, but DEFINITELY NOT REQUIRED. In fact, up until 2003, it wasn’t even allowed, under ordinary circumstances.

To the best of my knowledge, it’s not “the Church” (Rome, Magisterium, Sacred Congregation), it’s the individual bishops that require (or prohibit) this. (please correct me if I’m wrong).

Problem is, it doesn’t reinforce the Catholic teaching (that any tiny particle of a consecrated host includes the entire body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ). Again, another act in the mass that DOES reinforce protestant theology.

So, Deacon Ed, we add something completely unnecessary (the Precious Blood required, by an individual bishop, to be offered) then make a new position in the church (and in the sanctuary, and touching the sacred species, which has become so regularly desecrated) so we can accomodate it?

And, by the way, THE ONLY VALID REASON FOR ADDING EMHC’S is to speed up the distribution of communion!

The true reason for bishops REQUIRING the distribution of the Precious Blood at every mass? To get women and ANYONE up into the sanctuary so we can get used to ANYBODY being up there. So feminists can get up there and then expect the next step… priesthood. “I can touch it and distribute it and say “the body of Christ”, why can’t I consecrate it?”

That’s the truth.

Angel
[/quote]

Angel,

The Church states that it is good in the GIRM:

  1. Moved by the same desire and pastoral concern, the Second Vatican Council was able to give renewed consideration to what was established by Trent on Communion under both kinds. And indeed, since no one today calls into doubt in any way the doctrinal principles on the complete efficacy of eucharistic Communion under the species of bread alone, the Council thus gave permission for the reception of Communion under both kinds on some occasions, because this clearer form of the sacramental sign offers a particular opportunity of deepening the understanding of the mystery in which the faithful take part.[font=Arial]

and also

[font=Times New Roman]281. Holy Communion has a fuller form as a sign when it is distributed under both kinds. For in this form the sign of the eucharistic banquet is more clearly evident and clear expression is given to the divine will by which the new and eternal Covenant is ratified in the Blood of the Lord, as also the relationship between the Eucharistic banquet and the eschatological banquet in the Father’s Kingdom.

You are correct that it is not required (but I never said it was required, only that the Church said it was good). You are incorrect that the only reason for using EMHCs is to “speed up” communion. They are to be used in cases where the ordinary minister (priest or deacon) is unable to give communion.[/font][/font]
[font=Arial][/font]
[font=Arial]Deacon Ed
[/font]

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