As instructed by the Church, it is valid to have ordinary and extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. The ordinary ministers of the Eucharist are Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. By virtue of their ordination, they are the first in line to distribute Holy Communion.
Extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist are ministers intended to assist in extraordinary circumstances. Preparing for this sacred ministry requires much catechesis. After all, this is no ordinary ministry. It is a sacred ministry.
Often, during formation for Eucharistic ministry, much emphasis may be placed on the human element of the distribution of Holy Communion. Ministers may be trained, for example, on where to stand, what to say, and what to do after Communion is finished. The logistics of Communion flow is covered in detail in the formation of the ministry.
One cannot help but wonder if enough emphasis is placed on the spiritual preparation required of the ministers of the Eucharist. After all, these are the people who may touch and transfer the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ to the faithful. Is there the same level of intensity of preparation at the spiritual level as there is at the human level?
Thus, spiritual questions arise. Are the ministers of the Eucharist approaching their ministry with humility, not desiring to be the center of attention at the altar? Do they regularly go to confession, to purify their souls so as to be in a state of grace for this ministry? Are they modestly and appropriately dressed so as not to be a distraction during Mass and Communion? Do they truly believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist?
We are Catholic. Although extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist are called to assist only in extraordinary circumstances, it seems that frequently this ministry has become quite “ordinary” permitting their regular assistance at every Mass. It may be time to revisit the assistance of the extraordinary and seek the assistance of the ordinary ministers to distribute Holy Communion in all ordinary times.
Ponder: How do you prepare to receive the Eucharist at every holy Mass?
Reflect: 1 Cor 11:27-32 (GIRM 162, 180 and NDRHC 28-29)
Pray: Heavenly Father, I wish to always please you and receive every Eucharist worthily, with a pure heart, mind, and body.
This post was written by Suzy Kelly