Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

Basic Instructions

  • After you give the Sign of Peace to those near you, come up to the sanctuary, and enter to the left or south side of the altar.
    • As the Sign of Peace is over, this is not the place or time to exchange greetings.
    • Even if you are not assigned to distribute Holy Communion at a particular Mass, if you notice a lack of the proper number of EMHCs, please feel free step in and serve.
    • Sanitize your hands with hand sanitizer behind the wall on the bookshelf.
    • Line up behind Father and to his right, on the ambo or south side of the altar.
    • After you have received the Body and Blood of Christ, wait to receive a ciborium or chalice from the priest.  Wait until all of the ciboria and chalices have been distributed before you move to your spot.
    • Distribute Holy Communion saying only the words, “The Body of Christ” or “The Blood of Christ.”
    • Priests and deacons are ordained to give public blessings.  EMHCs are appointed to distribute the Blessed Sacrament.  If a young child, a non-Catholic, or a Catholic who cannot receive Holy Communion comes for a blessing, a simple prayer is appropriate: “May God bless you.”
    • After Communion, return to the altar and place the ciborium or chalice on the corporal.
      • If there is Precious Blood remaining in the chalice, consume it while facing the altar.  If you cannot consume all of it, place the chalice on the corporal and the priest or deacon will consume the remaining.
      • There is no need to worry about purifying the vessels.  Priests and deacons (or instituted acolytes) have the special duty of purifying the sacred vessels and replacing the Eucharist in the Tabernacle.
      • Return to your seat, except:
      • Two EMHCS, after they are finished, should together take the collection into the sacristy.  Use a plastic bag from the top drawer on the left.  Write the number and Mass time on the front of the bag.  Put all bills, coins, checks and envelopes into the bag.  Seal the bag.  Lock it in the center cabinet.

Some Tips

  • Find your own substitute!
  • Dress appropriately
  • There is no need to distribute the Eucharist with haste or absentmindedness.  Pray for those who are receiving Holy Communion right in front of you!
  • If you or a communicant drop a host, gracefully stoop down and pick it up.  Keep it apart so that you can give it to the priest or deacon when you return to the altar after distributing Communion.
  • If the Precious Blood should spill, move in front of the spot so that neither you nor anyone else steps on that spot.  Remember the spot and tell the priest when you return to the altar after distributing Communion.
  • If your line finishes and the line for the main isle is quite long yet, you may move in front of the outside end of the first pew and distribute to that line as well.

The reception of Holy Communion is the highest moment of active, conscious participation in the Liturgy.  It is the most intimate encounter between the communicant and the Lord.  The Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion has the special duty of helping to distribute the Eucharist so that Mass is not unduly long.  This fosters an intentional focus on intimate union with God, and with neighbor, without distraction or strain on patience.  Humble and dutiful service in distributing enables those who are receiving Holy Communion to enter more deeply into the Divine mysteries being celebrated.