extraordinary ministers every Sunday?

Should extraordinary ministers participate in the distribution of our blessed sacrements in a novus ordo mass every Sunday and basically all the time? I’m in the diocese of Scranton PA and in our small rural parish there are extraordinary ministers participating at just about every mass, even on Tuesday night mass where there are less then 12 people. If I am not mistaken, aren’t extraordinary ministers supposed to be for extraordinary circumstances?

Our parish has 14,000 people. There is an 80% Mass attendance. We have 10 Masses every Sunday to accommodate everyone. EMHC’s are required. Without them it would not work unless Communion was not allowed.

And this would be typical in the Philippines. Once you get to the huge parishes that are shrines like Quiapo, Baclaran, etc., there is simply not an option not to have an army of EMHCs.

Can. 230 §3 Where the needs of the Church require and ministers are not available, lay people, even though they are not lectors or acolytes, can supply certain of their functions, that is, exercise the ministry of the word, preside over liturgical prayers, confer baptism and distribute Holy Communion, in accordance with the provisions of the law.

There shouldn’t be a need for such person/s in ordinary parishes that have sufficient means to perform these tasks, especially the dispensing of the Holy Host. Bl. John Paul II wrote “To touch the sacred species, and to distribute them with their own hands, is a privilege of the ordained …” Under normal circumstances, only the ordained (Bishop, Priests and Deacons) may distribute while under complete necessity, rare circumstance, a layman may be used to perform the function. Used as a permanent office for the layman involved is abuse of the clergyman if he has the means to request and get ordinary ministers, other clergy.

This problem wouldn’t exist if the usual parish did not throw out the Altar Rails, the Extraordinary Form demonstrates that there is no need for ministers besides the ordained.


Article 8

The Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion

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.

How did they handle it in the old days when Mass attendance was even higher?

You are right. At our Church, even with 10 Masses on Sunday people are still unable to get inside the Church and have to stand or sit outside. They can follow the Mass because of speakers and then go in for Communion.

“Extraordinary” minister in this case simply means they are laity, not clergy. The “extraordinary” has nothing to do with number or frequency, etc.

Note: I’m not saying whether or not in the situation you describe that it’s prudent to have them, simply pointing to the proper understanding of the term.

§ 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)

And further,

To avoid creating confusion, certain practices are to be avoided and eliminated where such have emerged in particular Churches:

— extraordinary ministers receiving Holy Communion apart from the other faithful as though concelebrants;

— association with the renewal of promises made by priests at the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, as well as other categories of faithful who renew religious vows or receive a mandate as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion;

— the habitual use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at Mass thus arbitrarily extending the concept of “a great number of the faithful”.

Redemptionis Sacramentum, clarifies the terminology as follows:
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. (Redemptionis Sacramentum, n. 156)

I’m simply seeking advice for my parish. We have one priest, one deacon, and 3 masses a sunday with a parish of about 400 were 50% attend. Should we be using extraordinary ministers?

Ok. One more time.

The use of the EMHC is regulated by your Bishop.

There are many things that you must consider before asking this question.
Does your parish receive under both species?
If so, the suggestion (at least in my diocese) is that there are 2 Ministers with the Precious Blood for every Precious Body minister. Do you have enough ordained men at each Mass to do this?

How long is Mass with the help of EMHC? How much longer would it be if only one priest was available and no deacon? Would it run into another Mass?

In the end, the priest, within the guidelines set by Bishop, has the final say.
Maybe you should be asking your Pastor this question.

Point taken. Thank you for your patience.

We recieve both species. We would not have enough ordained men at every service.
Mass without EMHC would run about 5+ minutes longer. The next mass’s might be delayed.

Thank you :slight_smile:

Who said Mass attendance before was higher? Philippine population is exploding. Even if the percentage of Catholics vs. the entire population is lower, population growth is high.

So, the case must be that our Bishop see’s more importance in distributing both species, rather then just one distributed soley by the priest. I must not be in union with His way of thinking. I for some reason see this as “not the best path” but I submit to His guidance anyhow. :shrug:

I am thinking that my opinion may be based on how sacred I see the Holy Eucharist and precious Blood. For some reason, extraordinary ministers IMO, being lay people, seem to me to be unworthy to handle Jesus’s most precious gift to us, or at least taking away from holy sacredness and respect that I think is due of it. Perhaps on that I am in error too. :o

No one is worthy.

If your priest thinks so, and he’s following your Bishop’s directives for his own diocese, then yes.

Don’t ask us: we neither know what your priest thinks, or whether he is following the Bishop’s directives.

All we can do is give conjecture, most often based on our own preferences.

That’s what Catholics do. I can tell you I do not love much of what is allowed today, but I try not to say a word, or even think about it if I can help it. It’s not my place. I hope you can find a traditional Mass near you, instead. It’s so wonderful and it’s a safe place for the heart to rest in God.

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