Eucharistic Minister Changes

FAQ about New Liturgical Practices for Eucharistic Ministers

Where do Eucharistic Ministers stand when they come up to assist at Mass? Come forward at the Lamb of God; three ministers on each side at the bottom of the altar; move to the top steps after Father and Deacon receive the Body and Blood of Christ. Why the change? According the Norms for Distributing Communion of the Catholic Church, the extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion should not approach the altar before the priest has received Communion. (While this is the guideline, we are making a compromise that ministers can come toward the altar, but not fully come to the table until after Father and Deacon receive the Body and Blood of Christ).

Do Eucharistic ministers need to bring the reserved Communion from the tabernacle? No. The Deacon as part of his ordained role as assistant at the altar will handle bringing reserved Communion from the Tabernacle. If there is not a deacon present, a Eucharistic minister on that side of the sanctuary is invited to come to the Tabernacle, bow, and remove the reserved ciborium and bring it up to Father to be utilized.

Who brings Communion to the choir? The Choir is welcome to receive under both species at Communion.  Two ministers on that side are encouraged to go to the choir first and then take your regular positions. Please be mindful of those in the first pew unable to process up for Communion.

What do ministers do when a small child or adult comes for a blessing rather than receiving Communion? Often those not receiving the Body of Christ will come with their arms crossed for a special blessing. We ask that you please do not touch these individuals as we do not want any particles from our hands (that have been distributing our Lord) to be smeared upon the person or their clothing. Of course it is very important to recognize those who come forward for a blessing. Please say a quick blessing on them or verbalize the sign of the cross.

What do the ministers do with the Body of Christ after the assembly has received? Those with the Body of Christ are asked to give Father or Deacon the ciborium at the tabernacle. Please remain there until all ministers are finished with their tasks. A cup of water is located near the tabernacle to immerse your fingers that handled the Body of Christ. Any particles will go into the cup to be handled by the priest and deacon in the appropriate manner after Mass.

What do the ministers do with the precious Blood left in the cups? Those ministers of the Cup are asked not to consume the remaining Blood of Christ in your chalice. Rather, please turn to the person next to you and offer “The Blood of Christ” to your fellow minister to consume, and they can in turn offer another person the “The Blood of Christ.”  According to the norms of the church, the laity is not permitted to give themselves the Body and Blood of Christ. Eucharist is meant to be received, not taken on our own. Also, drinking large quantities of the Blood of Christ can give an irreverent impression to the assembly. (Please do not leave a cup of our Lord’s precious Blood at the Tabernacle). Again, gently handing the cups to each other and offering the Blood of Christ is a beautiful way of sharing the sacrament as we finish the contents of the cups.

What do the ministers do with the purificator (cloth used with the cups during distribution) after Communion? Ministers do not need to put the purificators in the cups as the priest and deacon will be immediately beginning the purification ritual, instead, simply hand the purificator to the deacon with the cup. Then, all Ministers bow together and return to the assembly as the priest and deacon carefully rinse the vessels and consume the water. (All vessels are thoroughly washed after Mass prior to storage).

What does the minister do if consecrated hosts fall on the floor? Don’t panic. Pick them up and hold under the ciborium (bowl) and tell the priest or deacon. They will instruct you to go the Credence Table (near the altar servers) where you will find extra purificators. Remember this is the true presence of our Lord. Please open the purficator and place it on the floor where the consecrated host had fallen. And then continue distributing the Body of Christ (Note: If you are in the assembly and see a white cloth on the floor, please walk around it … don’t worry it is part of this process … thanks for your consideration, but leave it on the floor). The priest or deacon will check under the cloth for any particles after Mass. If none, nothing needs to be done. If there are fragments, the priest or deacon will handle the procedure. Meanwhile, the Eucharistic minister is asked to give the fallen consecrated hosts to the priest or deacon after Communion. They will dissolve them in water after Mass and then take the prescribed steps to resolve the issue.

Revised 10-03-19