- 2200 FOR EUCHARISTIC MINISTERS: NOURISHING THE COMMUNITY
- 2210 INTRODUCTION
- 2220 HISTORY
- 2230 THE EUCHARIST
- 2240 RELATIONSHIP TO PASTOR, PASTORAL STAFF AND 'COMMUNITY
- 2250 STYLE OF MINISTRY
- 2260 OPPORTUNITIES FOR SERVICE
- 2261 SERVICE AT THE ALTAR
- 2262 SERVICE TO THE SICK
- 2263 EXPOSITION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT
- 2270 THE COMMISSIONING CEREMONY
- 2271 WHEN THE RITE IS CELEBRATED DURING MASS
- 2272 WHEN THE RITE IS CELEBRATED OUTSIDE MASS
- 2280 CONTINUING EDUCATION
- 2290 SPECIAL CASES
- 2400 HOME MASSES
2200 FOR EUCHARISTIC MINISTERS: NOURISHING THE COMMUNITY #
2210 INTRODUCTION #
In 1973 the Church first proclaimed the need for extra¬ordinary ministers of the Eucharist. In his encyclical IMMENSAE CARITATIS (“Immense Love”), Pope Paul VI makes clear
2210.1 why Eucharistic Ministers serve;
2210.2 how Eucharistic Ministers serve;
2210.3 who Eucharistic Ministers are.
The document begins:
“Christ the Lord has left to the Church, His Spouse, a testament of His immense love. This wonderful gift of the Eucharist, which is the greatest gift of all, demands
that such an important mystery should be increasingly better known and its saving power more fully shared…. Greater access to Holy Communion should be made possible ….Provision must be made lest reception become impos¬sible or difficult owing to a lack of a sufficient number of ministers.”
The document goes on to explain that “local ordinaries have the faculty to permit suitable persons…to give the Euch¬arist to other faithful and to take it to the sick who are confined to their homes.”
The document insists that “persons who have been appointed to be extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion are neces-sarily to be duly instructed and should distinguish them-selves by their Christian life, faith and morals. Let them strive to be worthy of this great office; let them cultivate devotion to the Holy Eucharist and show themselves as an example to the other faithful by their piety and reverence for this most holy Sacrament of the altar.”
2220 HISTORY #
Ministers of the Eucharist were common in the early Church. Someone from each family carried the Eucharist from Sunday Mass to the home where family members would then receive each day during the week.
Over the years, the many individual ministerial roles were gradually taken over by the priest, to the point where he was often the only minister — of the readings, the altar, and Communion.
The Second Vatican Council began a renewal of many mini-stries in the Church, emphasizing the priestly ministry given to all at Baptism. Pope Paul VI writes in his en-cyclical EVANGELII NUNTIANDI “the laity can also feel them¬selves called to work with their pastors in the service of
the ecclesial community for its growth and life by exer¬cising a great variety of ministries according to the grace and charisms which the Lord is pleased to give them.”
In accord with the spirit of the Council, Church members now have the opportunity to serve as special ministers of the Eucharist. They stand with the priests and deacons as
those who offer their brothers and sisters the Body of Christ. Theirs is also the privilege to bring the Eucharist from the worshipping community to the sick or to those confined in their homes.
2230 THE EUCHARIST #
At the Last Supper, the Lord Jesus gave Ris Church the Sacrament of His Body and Blood that we might “proclaim the
death of the Lord until He comes.” He entrusted to the Church this unique memorial of His life, death, and resurrections, and asked that we do this in memory of Him.
Our Eucharist is called
“a sacrament of love,
a sign of unity,
a bond of charity,
a paschal meal in which Christ is eaten, the mind filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory given to us.” (St. Thomas Acquinas)
The Eucharist then is the source and summit of our Christian lives and of all Christian worship.
Special ministers of the Eucharist witness to the preeminence of this sacrament. It is the special ministers of the Eucharist who stand in the midst of the worshipping community and proclaim that this is indeed “The Body of Christ;” it is these ministers who call forth the people’s strong “yes” of faith in the presence and power of Jesus Christ.
By attitudes of reverence and prayer around the altar, the special ministers of the Eucharist manifest their devotion to our Savior present under the forms of bread and wine. They reflect in their actions an intimate relationship with God who gives us “our daily bread” and with Christ, of whose
Body and Blood we partake. By their presence before the community at Mass or at a sickbed, the Eucharistic ministers are abiding witnesses of the meaning of the “life-giving bread and saving cup” that they hold in their hands.
2240 RELATIONSHIP TO PASTOR, PASTORAL STAFF AND ‘COMMUNITY #
Extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist relate in particular ways to the parish community, and to the pastor and pastoral staff, ways that involve:
2241 faith witness
2242 selection of new ministers 2243 interview of new ministers 2244 meetings.
2241 Potential special ministers of the Eucharist have special
qualities of faith and active commitment to the parish, their community of faith. Parishioners recognize the potential Eucharistic ministers by their prayerfulness, dedication, and good relationships with others.
2242 The pastor and th(DE5e with whom he works, the pastoral staff, are alert to these qualities and those mentioned in Series 2250. In accord with the pastor’s mission from the Archbishop and with the particular responsibilities of the pastoral staff, the pastor and pastoral staff consult, and then invite parishioners to become candidates for the Eucharistic ministry.
2243 The pastor or pastoral staff member interviews the candy-dates and after mutual agreement, apply to the Chancellor to be registered as a Eucharistic Minister. The candidates then begin preparation for their new ministry. Once selected, registered, prepared and commissioned, the Eucharistic ministers serve the parish under the guidance of the priest or a designated member of the pastoral staff. The pastor
or his designate care for the spiritual welfare of the Eucharistic ministers, particularly through formal meetings held at least twice a year at which the pastor and all Eucharistic ministers are present.
2244 The purpose of the meetings is threefold:
2244.1 to allow for on-going spiritual development of the Eucharistic ministers;
2244.2 to coordinate planning and scheduling, and to discuss areas of difficulty;
2244.3 to demonstrate that the ministers are an important parish resource and deserve significant pastoral time.
2250 STYLE OF MINISTRY #
You who have been chosen ministers of the Eucharist are call¬ed to a most rewarding ministry. You are called to touch and to share one of Christ’s greatest gifts to His Church, His Body and Blood, given for the life and growth of His members.
This ministry takes place in the Eucharistic celebration,