First Holy Communion from an EMHC?


#1

I was shocked to learn that our daughter may recieve her First Holy Communion from an EMHC ("Eucharistic Minister").

I guess I had naively assumed that for First Communions that everyone would be patient for the First Communicants to receive from the priest or deacon.
And then they can't wear their dresses or veils either... must wear their albs over their beautiful dresses. What the heck is the point?

Any thoughts from orthodox Catholics at "normal" Catholic parishes where this sort of thing goes on? (ie, not Latin Masses...)

THanks, Disgruntled


#2

I am in Baltimore, Maryland and at my Parish 1st Communion is done on the last Saturday of April and the 1st Saturday of May. The girls are all so pretty in their dresses and the young men so handsome in their suits.

Usually Communion is handed out by the Priest. And they go up 1 at a time so that Mom and Dad can get pictures and all. AFTER all the kids go, everyone else can go and it is more like a regular communion.

I have never heard of the girls having to wear anything over their dresses. My Parish does have a “dress code” for the dresses. No strapless or spaghetti strap dresses. I happen to agree with this as I find those styles inappropriate for 8yr old girls.

I wonder if your parish has had issues with either inappropriate dresses or with families that could not afford a “fancy” dress and felt embarrassed so they turned to the albs as a sort of “uniform”. I would ask the Religious Ed Director or your Pastor for an explaination


#3

Parishes have been doing the alb thing for First Communion since the 80s at least. Not all, of course, but enough that I don't consider it a rare thing. It's certainly appropriate since it is the baptismal garment. In fact, in my parish, that's the white garment presented to older children who come to be baptized.

Redemptionis Sacramentum says that nobody but the priest, not even a deacon, should be administering First Communion:

[87.] The First Communion of children must always be preceded by sacramental confession and absolution.[169] **Moreover First Communion should always be administered by a Priest **and never outside the celebration of Mass. Apart from exceptional cases, it is not particularly appropriate for First Communion to be administered on Holy Thursday of the Lord’s Supper. Another day should be chosen instead, such as a Sunday between the Second and the Sixth Sunday of Easter, or the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, or the Sundays of Ordinary Time, since Sunday is rightly regarded as the day of the Eucharist.[170] “Children who have not attained the age of reason, or those whom” the Parish Priest “has determined to be insufficiently prepared” should not come forward to receive the Holy Eucharist.[171] Where it happens, however, that a child who is exceptionally mature for his age is judged to be ready for receiving the Sacrament, the child must not be denied First Communion provided he has received sufficient instruction.


#4

From Redemptionis Sacramentum source]:

[87.] The First Communion of children must always be preceded by sacramental confession and absolution.[169] Moreover **First Communion should always be administered by a Priest **and never outside the celebration of Mass…


#5

The wearing of an alb can be for several reasons. First, it is symbolic of baptism. Secondly, communion dresses have gotten out of hand, at least in our area. There are mothers who spend hundreds of dollars for designer gowns and veils for First Communion. Those who can’t afford it feel bad or look “poor” compared to these girls. It’s become a contest of sorts as to who has the best gown. Some are even strapless (I kid you not). The albs put everyone on an equal footing. I know several priests from Malta who have shown pictures of First Communions in that country and they all wear albs, boys and girls. It could be said that some parents brought this on because they made First COmmunion into an extravaganza, mini wedding instead of the focus being on the Sacrament (my doctoral dissertation was on consumerism as it relates to FHC so my thoughts are based on research that I have done.)


#6

I think it reasonable for a parent to object to albs on the grounds that they are proper for service at the altar, and are not the garments of the lay faithful.

According to the GIRM, albs are specifically described as the vestments of ministers:

**298.* The vestment common to ministers of every rank is the alb, tied at the waist with a cincture, unless it is made to fit without a
cincture.

**301. **Ministers below the order of deacon may wear the alb or other vestment that is lawfully approved in each region. *

As** SuscipeMeDomine **pointed out, a parent absolutely has grounds to insist that their child recieve his or her first communion from an ordinary minister.

I cannot find the direct quote, but I also remember that John Paul II had been known to decline to admininster First Holy Communion, as he considered this the special privelege of a child's pastor. (He said in the quote that he'd be pleased to be the minister at the child's second reception of the Holy Eucharist.)


#7

[quote="Joannm, post:5, topic:227472"]
The wearing of an alb can be for several reasons. First, it is symbolic of baptism. Secondly, communion dresses have gotten out of hand, at least in our area. There are mothers who spend hundreds of dollars for designer gowns and veils for First Communion. Those who can't afford it feel bad or look "poor" compared to these girls. It's become a contest of sorts as to who has the best gown. Some are even strapless (I kid you not). The albs put everyone on an equal footing. I know several priests from Malta who have shown pictures of First Communions in that country and they all wear albs, boys and girls. It could be said that some parents brought this on because they made First COmmunion into an extravaganza, mini wedding instead of the focus being on the Sacrament (my doctoral dissertation was on consumerism as it relates to FHC so my thoughts are based on research that I have done.)

[/quote]

But why should the bad behavior of some, mean penalizing everyone? My daughter wore the simplest dress of all the girls in her class, but I sure would have been upset if I weren't allowed to pick a dress for my daughter!


#8

Speak to your priest. This is an abuse of the use of EMHCs. Unless you have throngs of thousands receiving Holy Communion at that Mass, there is no reason why the priest can’t administer, at the very least, to the First Communicants.
:mad:

~Liza


#9

While I think banning dresses and veils and making the kids wear plain albs ruins it for everyone, at least it is within the parish priest’s power to make that kind of ruling.

As others have pointed out, however, having an EMHC give out first communion is NOT allowed. You should definitely bring up the subject with your parish.

I was not raised Catholic so I never got to go through confirmation and first communion as a child. I would be very upset if my daughter were barred from having the holy, reverent, memorable experience I never got for no good reason! This is an important, formative event in the faith life of a child. It’s not just a day like any other.


#10

Alb is fine and quite appropriate but the parents should have been notified at the very beginning of the sacramental preparation phase. Reception of Communion should be from the hands of the Eucharistic Minister and not an EMHC or even a deacon. I think that RS states that the priest is the chosen one because he is the Eucharistic Minister and not because he is an Ordinary Minister of Holy Communion.


#11

The Eucharist is the Eucharist. The object of Communion, first or otherwise, is the Eucharist, not the minister who distributes it.

But I’m worried that the priest didn’t bother to give First Communion himself, being a special occasion. I attend an Eastern Parish and when our priest had his child baptized, she was baptized, chrismated and given communion by the Bishop. Given there were two priests for Divine Liturgy plus the Bishop, the Bishop did not have to give Communion to the child, but he did especially just for the child. Everyone else received from the two priests. I think its prudent for a pastor that he himself gives First Communion to kids.


#12

[quote="SuscipeMeDomine, post:4, topic:227472"]
From Redemptionis Sacramentum source]:

[87.] The First Communion of children must always be preceded by sacramental confession and absolution.[169] Moreover **First Communion should always be administered by a Priest **and never outside the celebration of Mass...

[/quote]

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:11, topic:227472"]
The Eucharist is the Eucharist. The object of Communion, first or otherwise, is the Eucharist, not the minister who distributes it.

[/quote]

The Church appears to disagree with you. Otherwise the document quoted above would not state that the priest should administer the sacrament.

This is wrong, and it needs to be fixed.

~Liza


#13

the rules in this diocese specify first communion should be administered by the priest. If our children choose to receive during Sunday Mass instead of with their class we make sure they sit where they will receive from the priest, not the deacon.
Why not simply ask your pastor what the rules are? If I was told the children would be wearing albs I certainly would not spend money on a dress or special clothes. If the parents chose to do so that is not the fault of the parish. The pastor may have been trying to militate against some of the increasingly immodest dresses being sold out there today. they may also be combatting my pet peeve “oh she hasn’t done her communion yet because we don’t have a dress”. Got that one again just today.


#14

Wow I never knew 1st Communion at to be administered by a priest. I can’t remember for sure if my daughter did. I’m pretty sure she received from Father, it was at our old parish. I do remember the DRE saying if any parents were EMHC’s they could request to give their child 1st Communion. There are reasons why we left our old parish but in this case I didn’t know this was another rule they were breaking.


#15

The only time I’ve seen First Holy Communion administered by an EMHC in our parish was with regards to the Precious Blood, and even that has been administered by a deacon, if available.

I can’t figure out what the main celebrant at a First Holy Communion Mass would be doing, if he weren’t administering Holy Communion to the First Communicants? How many kids could there possibly be, after all? (It is true, I guess, that the FHC class is spread over three Masses on the same weekend at our parish.)


#16

I've never heard of an EMHC giving out First Communion. In my church, the children sit with their families and go up to communion with the rest of the congregation. There is not one specific Mass dedicated to this, so they can attend any mass during the "First Communion Weekend." I believe that the families of the first communicants are instructed to sit on either side of the main aisle, so that they will be in Father's line for communion. But in this situation, I can see how miscommunications could occur that would result in a child receiving First Communion from an EMHC. But I do not see any reason for a parish to specifically *plan *for an EMHC to give First Communion.


#17

The first communicants weren’t seated as a class, they were seated with family and went up and received with family. Each family had a reserved pew for guests. The Mass was so packed there was video feed in the vestibule for overflow.


#18

OK, so I finally got clarification.

The priest distributes the Host.

EMHCs or perhaps a deacon will have the Precious Blood.

In defense of the parish, we do have thousands of members (there are 4 or 5 different Mass with hundreds of people at each one), so I can see why they feel it is necessary.
That being said, the EMHCs are still over-used imnsho


#19

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