Fr Eamonn's Blog

Guidelines for Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers – Fr. Seamus Stapleton SCA

St Mary Star of the Sea

Dear Parishioner

Thank for the service you perform for our parish as an Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister. Your generosity of spirit is greatly appreciated. I would also like to welcome and thank our new ministers who have volunteered their services. I would like to thank David Towsey who has completed our rotas but who unfortunately cannot continue to do so.

This is a very import service you give and one which I’m sure you agree needs to be carried out with due respect and reverence. Before we make our new rotas there are some issues that need to be addressed.

We need all ministers to be able to consume any precious blood which remains after the distribution of Holy Communion. It is unreasonable to expect one person to consume the precious blood on their own. We cannot reserve the distribution of the Body of Christ for any particular minister. We need all ministers to be able to perform their ministry in full.

Firstly, could all ministers follow the rota, it is very confusing if some ministers are sitting in the church and do not take their place on the Altar when it is their turn. Please come forward at the beginning of the Communion Rite (the invitation to say the Our Father), line up in front of the altar, make a sign of reverence and move to the left of the altar. Please wash your hands using the hand sanitizer. One Minister should go to the tabernacle, collecting the ciborium and placing it on the altar.

The priest will then distribute Holy Communion to the servers and Ministers. Ministers handed the chalice will then distribute the precious blood to the Minister (who distributes the Body of Christ) and servers on the altar.

The priest and one Minister proceed to the front of the altar to distribute the body of Christ. Ministers distributing the blood of Christ are asked to go to the left and right hand side of the altar. If the person approaching the minister does not indicate clearly whether they want to receive then offer a blessing. They should make their intentions clear and can still be given Holy Communion if that is what they wish.

If a chalice is emptied during communion then simply cover the chalice with the purificator, indicating to the communicants that the chalice is empty and stay in your position until the distribution of Holy Communion has ended.

If a host falls on the floor during the distribution of Holy Communion than it is the responsibility of the Minister to retrieve the Sacred Host and either consume the Sacred Host or hand it to the priest for consumption.

If an accident occurs with the chalice, any Precious Blood which has spilled should be mopped up immediately using the purificator, the servers can provide extra linen if needed. Rather than continue offering the Precious blood to the communicants the Minister may cover the chalice with a purificator indicating that they have finished distributing the Blood of Christ.

At the conclusion of Holy Communion We Will Follow a New Procedure. The priest and ministers will turn to face the altar. The Priest and Eucharistic Minister who have distributed the Body of Christ will go to the altar; the priest will transfer any remaining hosts to the ciborium, during this time the remaining Eucharistic Ministers will move to the front of the altar. The Eucharistic Minister will approach the tabernacle and having placed the ciborium in the tabernacle make a sign of reverence (the priest, servers and remaining Ministers will also make a sign of reverence at the same time) and then the tabernacle door will be closed and the Minister may return to his/her seat.
Do not go behind the high altar

The remaining Ministers will than move to the right of the altar and at a table will consume any remaining precious blood and leave the chalices on the table and cover them with the purificators. The chalices will be purified later by the Priest. If a particularly large amount of Precious Blood is left than please ask the priest and any adult servers to consume the precious blood. Minister may than return to the front of the altar and after making a sign of reverence return to their seats.

I realise that these new arrangements may not appeal to everyone and that some Ministers may no longer able to perform this service for the parish. I understand why some ministers may make this decision and thank you for all you have done. I look forward to renewing the commitment to ministry with those who wish to continue on the Feast of Corpus Christi 22nd June 2014.

These new arrangements will start from weekend of July 5th/6th, 2014. Thank you for your continued co-operation.

Rev Seamus Stapleton SCA

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