I am lay minister of the Holy Eucharist at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd of the Diocese of Novaliches in Quezon City, Philippines. We have been wearing an all-white uniform (white barong tagalog, white pants, white socks and white shoes) whenever we serve as lay ministers of Holy Communion during our Masses for the past 35 years. Recently, our Bishop through our Worship Commission issued guidelines changing our all-white uniform to white barong tagalog, black pants, black socks and black shoes. There is some debate on the change because some ministers believe and insist that with the passage of 35 years, the uniform has become a tradition, hence, should not be changed. They claim that there is such a regulation from the Vatican, GIRM or Canon Law. There are others however who by obedience to the Bishop follow the new uniform. Is there really such a regulation that after the passage of 30 years, hence, a tradition, no change can no longer be made? What would be a more prudent action to take in the light of the circumstances? Thank you and Mabuhay.
They are thinking of Canon 26 (vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P4.HTM) and common sense says they are misapplying it in this case.
The Bishop is the ordinary minister of the Eucharist in his diocese so what he says in regards to the attire of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion should be obeyed.
I agree with the other poster that the appeal to tradition isn’t a strong argument in this case
Indeed a recent instruction, from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, called Redemptionis Sacramentum, has a section on EMHCs:
[quote=Redemptionis Sacramentum][160.] Let the diocesan Bishop give renewed consideration to the practice in recent years regarding this matter, and if circumstances call for it, let him correct it or define it more precisely. Where such extraordinary ministers are appointed in a widespread manner out of true necessity, the diocesan Bishop should issue special norms by which he determines the manner in which this function is to be carried out in accordance with the law, bearing in mind the tradition of the Church.
Certainly if anyone has an issue of affordability, a phased approach could make sense. But black pants, sock, and shoes are pretty universal, so I would think everyone already has these. What you wear is such a trivial matter (as long as it is clean and modest), I can’t see why anyone would choose to fight the bishop over this.
If the Bishop, etc says the change, then it has to be obeyed.
In the USA, ministers of Holy Communion dress in clothing typical of business casual or even business professional clothing but that is what I am accustomed to.
When I trained as an EMHC, we were told that we were definitely NOT to wear anything other than our normal clothes. We were not to wear albs or any of the official garments, we were not to wear sashes, as some parishes had started to do, we were not to coordinate with each other as to what we wore so that we matched, we were just to wear what we ordinarily wore to Mass.
This was to make it clear that we were still ordinary parishioners, not clerics or anyone especially holy or respected - we were just the Christmas donkey.
Thank you very much for all your responses to my query. I appreciate the guidance and will hold them to mind on our next meeting with the lay ministers. God bless.
So traditions of hundreds of years can be thrown out, but a tradition of a certain uniform (lay mininsters of Holy Communion should not be in uniforms anyway, what an idea) of 30 years cannot be messed with?
In this case, although I don’t see the point of uniforms at all, the bishop can appropriately decide what he wants.
It would seem to me that one who has been given the privilege of the distribution of the most Holy Eucharist might consider gaining the graces of the humility required to adhere to the wishes of the bishop who is responsible for the sacraments in his diocese.:shrug:
I dress the same way I did in my Protestant Church when scheduled to wait on the table or say the prayers. Suit or dress pants, shirt and ties with dress/sport jacket. Dress shoes are implied. But, my free will forced me to wear my Bob the Tomato or Larry the Cucumber ties.
Any layman MAY wear an Alb, it is not restricted to those that have Holy Orders. However, you would look pretty silly wearing an Alb in public.
I can not understand why some people believe coming to the Lord requires them to wear cut offs, shorts, t-shirts, muscle shirts, low cut blouses, beach sandals, shower shoes, etc. I especially can not understand why anyone that wishes to be an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist would do so.
If that’s all you own because you are simply too poor to purchase other clothing, then it is appropriate. otherwise, it is not.
As to a “uniform”, if your Bishop wishes you to wear matching clothing, he has that right and the power to enforce that rule. Those that refuse (or are fighting this) are in effect challenging the authority of the Bishop, and they could be barred from the Sacraments for doing so.
No “tradition” of 30 years is all that meaningful, and your compatriots are being silly.