Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion


Jesus said “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”     Jn 6:51

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Eucharist is the heart and the summit of the Church’s life, for in it Christ associates his Church and all her members with his sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving offered once for all on the cross to his Father; by this sacrifice he pours out the graces of salvation on his Body which is the Church. (#1407)

It is Christ, himself, the eternal high priest of the New Covenant who, acting through the ministry of the priests, offers the Eucharistic sacrifice.  And it is the same Christ, really present under the species of bread and wine, who is the offering of the Eucharistic sacrifice. (#1410)

The essential signs of the Eucharistic sacrament are wheat bread and grape wine, on which the blessing of the Holy Spirit is invoked and the priest pronounces the words of consecration spoken by Jesus during the Last Supper:  “This is my body which will be given up for you…This is the cup of my blood…” (#1412)

By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about.  Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner:  his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity. (#1413)

Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace.  Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance.  (#1415)

From General Principles for Extraordinary Ministers of Communion at Mass (Committee for Liturgy, USCCB)

In every celebration of the Eucharist, there should be sufficient number of ministers of Holy Communion so that it may be distributed in a reverent and orderly manner.  Bishops, priests and deacons distribute Holy Communion in virtue of their office as ordinary ministers of the Body and Blood of the Lord.

When the size of the congregation or the incapacity of the bishop, priest, or deacon requires it, the celebrant may be assisted by other bishops, priest, or deacons.  If such ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are not present, “the priest may call upon Extraordinary ministers to assist him, (including) other faithful who have been deputed for this purpose.”