Saying no to the Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion offer


#1

Well, I am involved with many different things within my parish. I really love being a sacristan, altar server, and reader. The coordinator at my parish wants to train me to be an EMHC next month. Personally, I feel like I have no business holding/distributing the body and blood of Christ (no offense to those who are EMHC, but that's my personal preference). I have no problem doing anything else in the parish, but being an EMHC is out of the question for me, and I don't really know why. Is it wrong if I tell her that I would rather not and continue my current duties? What would be a polite way to tell her?


#2

How about something like "I'm honored to be asked but I'm afraid I can't."

You don't have to explain any further or make excuses.

"Oh, but you're at Mass anyway so it won't take any extra time."
"I'm sorry. I'm afraid I can't. But thank you for asking."


#3

It appears that you’ve prayed on it and you should do what the Holy Spirit prompts you to do. Any priest should respect that.


#4

[quote="SuscipeMeDomine, post:2, topic:329073"]
How about something like "I'm honored to be asked but I'm afraid I can't."

You don't have to explain any further or make excuses.

"Oh, but you're at Mass anyway so it won't take any extra time."
"I'm sorry. I'm afraid I can't. But thank you for asking."

[/quote]

This sounds perfect; short and to the point.
Mary.


#5

You are already involved in plenty liturgical ministries. Everyone has specialties and you should not feel pressured to join another just because they want you to.

By the way, do you fulfill these ministries at different Masses? Our pastor is fairly strict in allotting one ministry per person per liturgy, unless there is a shortage of people.


#6

I think it's perfectly fine to refuse it, I would as well, unless there was some clear dearth of help for a disabled/very old priest.


#7

[quote="CatholicZ09, post:1, topic:329073"]
Well, I am involved with many different things within my parish. I really love being a sacristan, altar server, and reader. The coordinator at my parish wants to train me to be an EMHC next month. Personally, I feel like I have no business holding/distributing the body and blood of Christ (no offense to those who are EMHC, but that's my personal preference). I have no problem doing anything else in the parish, but being an EMHC is out of the question for me, and I don't really know why. Is it wrong if I tell her that I would rather not and continue my current duties? What would be a polite way to tell her?

[/quote]

Actually, why don't you print THIS one-way communication out and let her read it.

It's pretty eloquent. And if I were her - I'd understand completely.

I am "sort of" an EMHC. They call it CSL. Communion Service Leader. I sometimes "lead" a Communion Service on Sundays at a County Home for children 0 - 17.

My dilemma was similar to yours per feelings. I began as a musician and lector assisting a Chaplain/Deacon. We sometimes had a priest come in and celebrate mass - which was ideal - but our groups at the biggest were 20 kids. More often five or less.

Still the Catholic kids got communion and the mass readings of the day. When I lead the service I wear an alb ... and lead some of the prayers a priest does (not many - it's abbreviated quite a bit). I read the Gospel and give (not a homily) ... but a "reflection" on the readings. The Diocese tests and commissions people who do this - and it's a very rare thing in my Diocese, part of the "Detention Ministry/Office of Restorative Justice". And I am in the ONE facility that is not a jail nor a Juvenile Hall!

It is hard to give Jesus His DUE worship anywhere really. Processions, choirs, altar servers, stained glass windows, statues, tapestries, incense, bells and a great sound system do not go too far. In the sterile (but clean) foyer we have but a little kit - a small pyx with the Eucharist, an altar cloth and a corporal, a red sanctuary candle (quite small) and a crucifix make an existing table our "altar". Though there is no offertory (of course), nor
liturgy of the Eucharist leading up to consecration.

It all feels funny. But I get over it ... since bringing Jesus to His people is needed.

We do have a priest once per month now. Which is amazing considering our size and how much a priest might be needed elsewhere (the other prison ministry gatherings are much larger - 50 to 100 people as the hour of mass is also time "out of jail" in a sense).

With no instructions per kneeling at any time ... we encourage our kids to kneel (as we leaders do) at what would be like the elevation of the host.

"This is the lamb of God ... (etc.)" That does not agree with the mass ... but the part of the mass that mandates kneeling is not included in our Communion Service sheet.

Anyway I sympathize.

There are benefits to doing it though. I am inspired to resist sin more. (I can't do THAT ... I have to lead a Sunday Service for kids for heaven's sake!) And regarding the need to
"reflect" on the Scriptures has led me to a deeper look at them and listening to the Lord (plus, surprisingly, remembering gold nuggets from the priests throughout my life who have given homily's on these VERY scriptures at masses I'd attended long ago).

If you feel yourself pulled the other way, toward it -- still give your contact the letter and see if she still wants to recruit you. You seem humble ... which is the right spirit to serve.

Above all, and more important than the technicalities - I think a minister of the Eucharist should try to be authentically worshipping during the time he or she ministers. For that we need graces. God gives them. And has used humble vessels for His work before.

Since you seem to want to DO the right thing ... you probably will. Whether the answer is Yes or No. Or a temporary yes or no. "Not now." Or "I'll try but can't commit long term" for example.

Bless you for being a thoughtful person in an important matter CatholicZ. :)


#8

I would just say that I do not feel called to that ministry. That should be enough.


#9

Wow, what an honor to be invited! It speaks volumes of you.


#10

[quote="Brian123456, post:9, topic:329073"]
Wow, what an honor to be invited! It speaks volumes of you.

[/quote]

Whatever you decide ... ditto this. :thumbsup:

:bowdown: - **THIS **may go TOO far. :D


#11

I was once asked by a friend why I haven’t become an Extraordinary Minister…after I all, I have served at Mass since my youth and I am devoted to Christ and His Church. I didn’t want to go into all the reasons I didn’t want to become one, so I stumbled around for a few seconds until she came up with succinct response:

“I don’t feel called to that work.”

That should cover it :thumbsup:


#12

[quote="Marysann, post:8, topic:329073"]
I would just say that I do not feel called to that ministry. That should be enough.

[/quote]

This. This is the perfect response


#13

[quote="NickD, post:11, topic:329073"]
I was once asked by a friend why I haven't become an Extraordinary Minister...after I all, I have served at Mass since my youth and I am devoted to Christ and His Church. I didn't want to go into all the reasons I didn't want to become one, so I stumbled around for a few seconds until she came up with succinct response:

"I don't feel called to that work."

That should cover it :thumbsup:

[/quote]

As a qualifier remember the old joke just to give things proper scrutiny.

"Three days after the 'Good Samaritan' helped the victim on the road, he arrived in Jerusalem. He tried to blend in culturally by not looking stereotypically Samaritan for a variety of reasons.

He spied the Priest and the Levite he'd passed along the road speaking together, went up and asked them:

http://imgc.artprintimages.com/images/art-print/james-jacques-joseph-tissot-the-good-samaritan-illustration-for-the-life-of-christ-c-1886-94_i-G-53-5391-OCMJG00Z.jpg

"When you were on the road, and saw that victim in the ditch, why didn't you help him?"

They looked surprised. Conferred with one another and told the man.

"We don't feel we were "called" to a "ditch ministry!" :eek:

That's for a smile. If you DO hear GOD's call ... well then we should all say YES and worry about the details later.

You seem to want to do the right thing - and so probably will IMO. And that can happen with a YES or NO when the answer is thoughtful and wise ...
rather than dismissive or rash.


#14

If you are not called to a particular responsibility, then just say that.

On the other hand, I'm not sure how you can function as a sacristan without being trained as an EMHC. Don't you have to, as a sacristan, check the tabernacle to confirm how many consecrated hosts have been reposed? Don't you have to give hosts to EMHCs who are taking communion to the sick, the homebound, and prisoners? At our cathedral, you have to be trained as an EMHC to be given access to the tabernacle. So, to be a sacristan, you should be trained as an EMHC.

I'm in a similar position as the OP, it seems. I don't particularly want to be an EMHC. But I love being a sacristan. I got trained as an EMHC and very, very rarely serve as one at Mass. I tell the scheduler to not put me on the schedule as an EMHC, because I'm sacristan already, and have to be ready to "back up" anyone else who doesn't show up (lectors, etc.). At daily Mass, I ask EMHCs in the congregation to serve at that Mass, and I just never seem to ask myself.


#15

[quote="Marysann, post:8, topic:329073"]
I would just say that I do not feel called to that ministry. That should be enough.

[/quote]

Yep, and throw in that you've prayed about it, too! :thumbsup:

"After prayerful consideration, I've discerned that I am not called to serve that way."


#16

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