St Mary Catholic Church          4050 S. 3900 W., West Haven, UT 84401

Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

Anima Christi

Soul of Christ, make me holy. Body of Christ, save me. Blood of Christ, fill me with love.
Water from Christ's side, wash me. Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
Good Jesus, hear me. Within your wounds, hide me. Never let me be parted from you.
From the evil enemy, protect me. At the hour of my death, call me. And tell me to come to you.
That with your saints I may praise you. Through all eternity. Amen.

Did You Know?

Mission Statement

As part of the Liturgy of the Mass, our mission as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, in support of the parish’s mission, is to serve our community by assisting the celebrant in sharing The Body and Blood of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, at Saturday evening and Sunday celebrations, Holy Days of Obligation, and other special celebrations of the Eucharist, and to welcome all interested and able parishioners in joining this ministry as our Lord lovingly welcomes all of us into His family.


Guidelines and Application

Meeting Minutes

Do's & Don'ts for Communion Ministers


  1. Know you are a minister of the church.
  2. Prepare yourself before every Mass with a moment of quiet prayer.
  3. Secure a substitute in advance whenever you cannot assist at the Mass for which you are scheduled. Let the parish know of your substitute.
  4. Observe other communion ministers whenever you . gather with the congregation for liturgy. If you' -' notice that one of the schedule ministers is late or absent, offer to help out.
  5. Communicate reverence and dignity at all times in the performance of your duties, even while clearing the altar, without being artificially stiff.
  6. Dress appropriately.
  7. Participate fully in all parts of the liturgy at which you are serving by singing, praying, and listening attentively to the homily. Try not to let your role distract you from worshiping or make you nervous.
  8. Develop a devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.
  9. Educate yourself about the practice of celebrating Eucharist; its several aspects: thanksgiving, meal, sacrifice, memorial, sign of unity; its history in the church; continue your education on Eucharistic theology.
  10. Be friendly in your approach to each communicant. [Even after Mass!]
  11. Try to keep focus, in sprite of the repetition, on each statement of "The Body of Christ" or "The Blood of Christ."
  12. Respect how communicant's take communion, either in the hand or on the tongue.
  13. Hold up the host or chalice so that the communicant can see it when responding "Amen" to "The Body of Christ" or "The Blood of Christ."
  14. Allow the person to say "Amen" before moving the host or chalice toward him or her.
  15. Remain calm if any mishap occurs: someone accidentally spills the wine, drops the host, or cough up the host. First, make sure the person is not in any danger of choking. Then pick up what remains with a purificator. Continue unflappably, which will reassure the congregation. Accidents happen!
  16. Have occasional instruction in the bulletin regarding how communicants should hold their hands to receive the host.
  17. Keep your voice level loud enough for the communicant to hear but not so loud as to distract those receiving from other ministers.
  18. Ministers of the cup should stand far enough from the minister of the host to avoid congestion. [In the Diocese of Salt Lake City, there are to be two ministers of the cup for every one minister of hosts.]


  1. Draw attention to yourself by dramatic or hurried movements. Be natural in your walking to and from the sanctuary, if somewhat slower than you normal walking pace.
  2. Show your facial or bodily expression any sign of disappointment or rejection if people pass you by. Some people still prefer an ordained minister. Also, no one is obliged to partake of both species.
  3. Use extra words of either piety or familiarity. For example, don't call some people by name, unless you know everyone, lest others feel excluded.
  4. Be afraid to touch slightly the hands of the communicant during the act of placing those host on the palm.
  5. Engage in distracting chatter among yourselves as ministers -- even if there is a mishap or one minister doesn't show up and you have to take on another task.
  6. Panic if you run out hosts or wine. If most of the congregation has already received, signal those remaining in your line to move to another ministers.
Adapted from Karen Sue Smith's article in Church Magazine, Spring 1993

Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion at Mass

General Principles

In every celebration of the Eucharist, there should be a 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. (1)

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, priests, or deacons. If such ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are not present, "the priest may call upon extraordinary ministers to assist him, i.e., duly instituted acolytes or even other faithful who have been deputed for this purpose. In case of necessity, the priest may also depute suitable faithful for this single occasion (GIRM 162)."

Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should receive sufficient spiritual, theological, and practical preparation to fulfill their role with knowledge and reverence. In all matters they should follow the guidance of the diocesan bishop (Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds for the Dioceses of the United States of America, NDRHC, no. 28). When recourse is had to Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, especially in the distribution of Holy Communion under both kinds, their number should not be increased beyond what is required for the orderly and reverent distribution of the Body and Blood of the Lord. In all matters such Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should follow the guidance of the diocesan bishop (IBID).

All ministers of Holy Communion should show the greatest reverence for the Most Holy Eucharist by their demeanor, their attire, and the manner in which they handle the consecrated bread or wine. Should there be any mishap--as when, for example, the consecrated wine is spilled from the chalice--then the affected "area . . . should be washed and the water poured into the sacrarium [GIRM, 280]." (NDRHC, 29).

Liturgy of the Eucharist:

  • As the Agnus Dei or Lamb of God is begun, the Bishop or priest alone, or with the assistance of the deacon, and if necessary of concelebrating priests, breaks the eucharistic bread. Other empty ciboria or patens are then brought to the altar is this is necessary. The deacon or priest places the consecrated bread in several ciboria or patens, if necessary, as required for the distribution of Holy Communion. If it is not possible to accomplish this distribution in a reasonable time, the celebrant may call upon the assistance of other deacons or concelebrating priests.
  • If extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion are required by patoral need, they should not approach the altar before the priest has received Communion. After the priest has concluded his own Communion, he distributes Communion to the extraordinary ministers, assisted by the deacon, and then hands the sacred vessels to them for distribution of Holy Communion to the people.
  • All receive Holy Communion in the manner described by the General Instruction to the Roman Missal, whether priest concelebrants (cf. GIRM, nos. 159, 242, 243, 246), deacons (cf. GIRM, nos. 182, 244, 246), or Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (cf. GIRM, no. 284). Neither deacons nor lay ministers may ever receive Holy Communion in the manner of a concelebrating priest. The practice of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion waiting to receive Holy Communion until after the distribution of Holy Communion is not in accord with liturgical law. (NDRHC, 39; GIRM, 160).
  • After all Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion have received the Eucharist, the bishop or priest celebrant reverently hands vessels containing the Body or the Blood of the Lord to the deacons or extraordinary ministers who will assist with the distribution of Holy Communion. The deacon may assist the priest in handing the vessels containing the Body and Blood of the Lord to the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. (NDRHC, 40).
  • The proper and only permissible form for distributing Holy Communion is to offer the consecrated bread by saying, "The Body of Christ" and to offer the consecrated wine by saying, "The Blood of Christ." No other words or names should be added; and the formula should not be edited in any way. (Cf. GIRM, 161; 284-287).
  • If the Eucharistic bread or some particle of it falls, it should be picked up reverently by the minister. The consecrated bread may be consumed or completely dissolved in water before being poured down the sacrarium.
  • Should there be any mishap, for example, if the consecrated wine is spilled from the chalice, the area should be washed and the water poured into the sacrarium.
  • In those instances when there remains more consecrated wine than was necessary, if needs dictate, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion may consume what remains of the Precious Blood from their cup of distribution with the permission of the diocesan bishop. The sacred vessles are to be purified by the priest, the deacon or an instituted acolyte. The amount of wine to be consecrated should be carefully measured before the celebration so that none remains afterward. It is strictly forbidden to pour the Precious Blood into the ground or into the sacrarium. (NDRHC, 51-55).
  • Similarly, "consecrated hosts are to be reserved in a ciborium or vessel in sufficient quantity for the needs of the faithful; they are to be frequently renewed and the old hosts properly consumed" (Code of Canon Law, no. 939). Burying hosts or consecrated Eucharistic bread is strictly forbidden.


  1. Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds for the Dioceses of the United States of America [NDRHC] (August, 2002), no. 26 and cf. GIRM no. 162 and NRHC, no. 28
Based upon Roman Missal Formational Materials provided by the Secretariat for the Liturgy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops