Reflection Of Being An Extraordinary Minister Of Communion

Posted: March 19, 2011 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Personal Thoughts & Reflections

I had a strong desire a few years ago to serve in our Church in whatever Ministry that allowed me some form of flexibility in managing my time.  The reason for this, is because I am doing shift work at my employ and so it is almost impossible to commit to a fixed weekly schedule.   To my limited knowledge at that time, I knew a few ministries and almost all of them would require a rather fixed schedule.  So I shelved the idea, thinking it best that I wait till either I find an office hour job or serve when I retire.   Deep in my heart I wanted to serve as an Extraordinary Minister Of Communion, but felt that I was not worthy as I led a rather sinful life.  So in my mind I was considering an alternative, and that it would likely be to serve  in the capacity of a warden.

After a few years had passed and as my elder son was preparing that year to receive his first Holy Communion.  Parents had to meet regularly with the Parish Priest so that all of us could equip ourselves with the knowledge necessary to share our faith with our kids.  While this was going on, our Parish Priest was also started a basic bible knowledge course of which both my wife and I made a commitment to attend, as we were learning so much from him.  That was how I received my calling to the EMC.

I desperately needed to change my lifestyle and my life! But how?  So I prayed earnestly to God to for help and His guidance and was led to join the LISS seminars.  Needless to say that it was life changing, thereafter I developed a deeper and closer relationship with the one triune God.

Close to a year now since I started this journey, I am now serving as EMC.  On the first two occasions that I served during Mass, it was slightly overwhelming because not only was I elated to serve, but had to observe and remember quite a fair bit all while being reverent.  I have pondered and prayed and still pray everyday on how I can serve our Lord to the best of my ability.  The other day as I prayed on how to always remain focussed on Jesus especially when I am serving Mass as EMC, the Holy Spirit led me with this thought, “You are holding Jesus in your hand” then I had a vision of St Anthony holding the child Jesus.  I teared with joy in my heart…….and uttered a resounding AMEN.


I extracted this from a book which I think is wonderful and does an incredible job in describing what it truly means to be a Eucharistic Minister of Holy Communion….

For special ministers of Holy Communion, there is another dignity and responsibility: you must become what you give.  You must become and live as the Body of Christ that you give to your brothers and sisters.  In you as in the bread and wine of the Eucharist, God the Father starts with the human and brings out the beyond-the-human.  God the Father gives you a share in a ministry that humans could not deserve and would not dare ask for their own! Your call to serve is as unexpected and as undeserved as the young boy’s at the multiplication of the loaves and fishes out of thin air. (John 6:1-15) He could have, but didn’t.  When Jesus wanted to feed the large, hungry crowd of his hearers, he didn’t ask the Father to create loaves and fishes out of thin air.  He could have, but he didn’t.  Jesus began this great miracle with loaves and fishes provided by a young boy.  How happy and surprised that boy must have felt in knowing that Jesus had chosen to use his loaves and fishes in so great a miracle!  The boy and the crowd that shared his lunch realized that God likes to start with the human when he is acting for and with human beings,  God starts with the human-with-us to lead us beyond human possibilities.  That is what Jesus did for the hungry crowd on the hillside in Galilee; that is what Jesus does for us who accept God’s call to ministry and for those we serve.

Through your humble service as minister of Communion, God unites you to your fellow members of the Body of Christ and actually forms all of you into that Body.  But God doesn’t do this without the human: God loves the human too much to ignore it! A special minister’s human, personal, interior qualities will either build up or tear down the Body of Christ, that temple for God in the Spirit made up of brothers and sisters in Christ.  The “Rite of Commissioning Special Ministers of Holy Communion” contains words that are worth recalling often: “In this ministry, you must be examples of Christian living in faith and conduct; you must strive to grow in holiness through this sacrament of unity and love.  Remember that, through many, we are one body because we share the one bread and one cup.”

There must be an essential unity between your life inside and outside the liturgy, as the liturgical scholar Aidan Kavanagh states: “The common end for which the diverse liturgical ministries work is not a ceremony but a corporate life in faithful communion with all God’s holy people and holy things.  For this reason liturgical ministers should never be seen to do in the liturgy what they are regularly seen to do outside the liturgy.”  To put his another way: your service as ministers inside the liturgy should only make visible the faith and love you are seen to manifest outside the liturgy.  Generous self-giving, conformed to the pattern of Chris’s self giving unto death, must mark both your interior and exterior life both inside and outside the liturgy.

St Augustine exhorted his hearers to such self-giving while praising St Lawrence , deacon and martyr , who had ministered the chalice of the Lord’s Blood:”Just as he had partaken of a gift of self at the table of the Lord, so he prepared to offer such a gift. In his life he loved Christ; in his death he followed his footsteps.”  Similarly, your love for Christ present in the Eucharist and in his people will make the bread and wine you minister to others genuine signs of Christ’s self-sacrifice and your own.  The bread and wine that you minister to others will be outward signs of the love that flows from the heart of Christ and from your own heart.

“If then, you want to understand the body of Christ,” says Saint Augustine, “remember what the Apostle says: ‘You are the body of Christ and members thereof’(1Cor 12:27).  If, then, you are the body of Christ and his members, it is your mystery which is set forth on the Lord’s table; it is your own mystery that you receive.  You say ‘Amen’ to what you are, and in saying ‘Amen’ you subscribe to it.  For you hear the words ‘The body of Christ,” and you answer ‘Amen.’ Be members of the body of Christ then, so that your ‘Amen’ may be authentic.”  As special ministers of Holy Communion, you join with your brothers and sisters to say “Amen” to Christ as you receive him in the Eucharist; you also lead your brothers and sisters, through their “Amen,” to make a personal act of faith in the Christ who is present in the Eucharist and in themselves. Let your “Amen” to being a member of the Body of Christ be true, so that you can help make others’ “Amen” to being members of the Body of Christ also be true.  This true “Amen” is a Christian Commitment: the liturgical ministries, ”As special ways of living out the baptismal life of faith….demand a renewal of faith in view of the new charge given by the community to the individual.  These moments of personal dedication demand reflection, prayer, and discernment so that the decisions to be made may be truly responsive to God’s call.

Such reflection, prayer, and discernment are not one-time only nourishment, but a necessary diet for sustaining a life of generous service to God’s people, both inside and outside the liturgy.  Your life as a special minister of Holy Communion must be one of both being and giving the Body of Christ .  Let your “Amen” to that life of service be real and complete.  Then you will find great joy in the Lord who chooses to be present in you, in those your serve, and in the Eucharist that forms you into his Body.

  1. Raymund Francis says:

    That’s great. Try never to fall into the trap of taking this very special ministry for granted – its very easy to. I also love to be an EMC and for a brief period when I was bringing the Holy Eucharist to the sick, it gave me such immense joy. Unfortunately, I don’t have that privilege anymore.

    I have seen several members of the EMC ministry in different churches have a rather nonchalant attitude towards this sacred ministry – I call it sacred because you are holding the sacred Body of Christ in your hand. Some even act very “important” when on the contrary, I think and I felt for me, it was a humbling moment.

    God bless you brother.

  2. Judy Serrao says:

    Hi Julian,

    Your so wonderful person and faith ful sharing ,
    God loves you,

    • juleslife says:

      Dearest Judy,

      you are one of the very few members that truly inspire me and I hope to learn by your example of love and faith. Thank you for your kind words and may God always keep you and all at home in His loving care.

      *hugs* Julian

  3. Marge says:

    What a beautiful extract! Can you please cite the book? I am coordinator of the ministers at my parish and try to educate and find inspirational material of them.

    • CatholicJules says:

      It’s been quite a while so I cannot remember but I believe it was from a small booklet. If I manage to find it I’ll update the comments with the details. Love in Christ… Julian

  4. Christine says:

    This is beautiful! Thank you for revealing the deeper meaning of this ministry, I love how God revealed to you how we have that same exact opportunity that St. Anthony had in holding Jesus in his arms. Were you able to find the small booklet? I’d love to share it with the EMCs in my parish.

    • CatholicJules says:

      Peace dear,

      Thank you for your affirmation, unfortunately this was quite a while back and I am not sure where the booklet is now. If I do find it will let you know. Love in Christ…

  5. Donna Bungo says:

    Please cite the source, the book you referenced for the quote!

    • CatholicJules says:

      Did not think to do it at the time and cannot remember which of the many books I have read. If I do find it will place it here in a new reply.

  6. Phamagis says:

    This is from the book the Ministry of Communion written by Fr Kwatera, OSB! (Kwatera, Michael, OSB 2014, the Ministry of Communion, Liturgical Press: Collegeville, Minnesota

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