Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC) are men and women who assist with the Eucharistic life of our community. They are called "extraordinary" ministers of holy communion because the "ordinary" minister is the ordained minister, namely, a deacon, priest or bishop.
EMHC are commissioned by the Pastor for a determined period of time, normally one year, which is renewable at the Pastor's discretion. The commissioning takes place in the presence of the community during mass.
EMHC are trained for this ministry and serve on a rotating schedule.
Helping with the Distribution of Holy Communion during Mass
EMHC assist the priest at Sunday or weekday masses, as required, in distributing holy communion to the assembly. Before mass, they prepare the communion wafers and wine that will be brought up during the offertory procession. After mass, they ensure that the sacred vessels (chalice, paten, ciboria) are carefully put away.
Taking Holy Communion to the Sick and Homebound
The most important service rendered by the EMHC is to take holy communion to parishioners who are sick or homebound. Because there are many parishioners who need this pastoral care, and very few priests to do it, the EMHC assist the clergy in this act of mercy, especially on Sunday morning when the priest is needed for Sunday ministry at church.
This concrete gesture of faith in action provides the homebound and those in hospital or nursing homes with a sense of community and belonging. Deeper still, it provides them the spiritual strength that only Jesus, present in the eucharist, can offer.
Contact: Doreen Colantoni