The office of the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

The office of the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, is a liturgical ministry created by the Holy See. Pope Paul V1, in his MINISTERIA QUAEDAN of 1972, introduced radical reforms which allowed Lay persons other than ordinaries to be commissioned to assist the presider as Special Ministers of Holy Communion.
In the Philippines, in accordance with the ancient Apostolic tradition of the church, this position is reserved to men (although women can also deputized should the need arise). At present such is the case with the EMHC here at the Immaculate Heart of Parish. Presently there are about forty (40) active male members in our Ministry. We are in the process of recruiting more members to augment our ranks and to replace those who, for various reasons, were separated from the service. The Eucharist being the summit and center of Christian worship demand so much Lay Ministry members. The faithful who are special ministers of communion must be persons with good qualities of Christian life, faith and morals recommend them. Utmost care is observed during recruitment. Not all applicants are accepted, but those considered have to be interviewed and their personal background are being checked, before the submissions of names to the screening committee. Even the past performances of present members are interviewed, prior to their endorsement for renewal at the Diocese.
It is therefore imperative for Ministers of Holy communion to have a strong group identity, which develops through a well-rounded and solid training, ongoing formation in Theology, Spirituality, as well as communication and leadership skills. We are more than just priest’s assistants at mass. We bring communion to the sick at their homes; give viaticum to the dying, and in areas where no ordained minister is present. We actually serve as prayer leaders for such services as Holy Communion outside of mass, including the exposition and reposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
A Lay Minister, is a spiritual work in progress, like seeds sown growing in good soil. Our development must be nourished through seminars, work shop and ministry enrichment programs. But all this should be complimented by our own personal study, research and reading specially articles pertinent to general or specialized ministry. In addition, we form a network of support groups and take time to share with each other on a social level through occasional dinners, outing, field trip and pilgrimage to name a few.
In reality, ours is an awesome responsibility, a noble task, “a call to live in a manner worthy of the call received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace”. (Ephesians, 4: 1-2)