Extraordinary Ministers - At Mass

About This Ministry

These ministers have a unique opportunity to assist the clergy at mass.  The sharing  of communion is a special moment for the minister and the receiver of the Body and Blood of Christ.  Through the sharing of the Body and Blood Catholics acknowledge the new covenant that Jesus instilled at the last supper.  It also witnesses to our faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist.  This ministry should, therefore, be treated with the utmost dignity and reverence.

These lay ministers are extraordinary because they assist ordinary ministers (priests, deacons).   It should be kept in mind that ordained ministers (priests and deacons) present for the celebration of the Eucharist are expected to distribute Holy Communion unless they are too frail or sick to do so.

Proper terms should always be used when referring to the sacrament.  The consecrated host should always be referred to as the “Body of Christ and the consecrated wine should be referred to as the  “Precious Blood.”  Referring to them as “bread” and “wine” after they are consecrated may contribute to undermining our understanding of the Eucharist as the Real Presence of Christ.

Extraordinary Ministers are part of the Faithful that form a holy people.  They are to take an active part in the mass.  They should show the greatest reverence for the Most Holy Eucharist by their demeanor, their attire and the manner in which they handle the consecrated bread and wine.

“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?  Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.”  Corinthians 10:16-17

Procedure At Mass

Ministers scheduled for a mass should arrive early so that they can prepare spiritually.  They check in with the coordinator for that mass so that the coordinator knows they are present and that they know their assignment. 

During mass, after saying, or singing, The Lord’s Prayer, ministers proceed to the sacristy to purify their hands.  They then align themselves adjacent to the sanctuary awaiting the celebrant’s consumption of the consecrated body and blood of Christ.  Then they proceed together to the altar to receive the Eucharist themselves and receive their assigned cup, or bowl, for distribution.  After the celebrant moves to his place for distribution the ministers each proceed to their numerically designated spots for distribution.

Those who come forward with their arms crossed shall be offered a blessing.  This can be done holding your hand over the head or shoulder or make the sign of the cross over them.  Say a simple blessing such as “May God Bless you and keep you safe.”

Prayerfully they offer the Body (holding the host up to the receiver and saying clearly in a normal voice “The Body of Christ”) or the Blood of Christ (holding the cup up to the parishioner and saying in a normal voice “The Blood of Christ”) to parishioners.


Ken and Kerry Kiene