Our Lady & St Patricks

Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

The Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion is a lay person who has been commissioned to distribute Holy Communion.

The Extraordinary Minister is called extraordinary in order to be distinguished from the Ordinary Minister of Holy Communion, who is a Bishop, Priest, or Deacon (Code of Canon Law, c. 910).

In different places, you might hear those who perform this function called "Eucharistic Ministers," "Special Ministers," "Communion Ministers," or something similar. The proper name for the person who performs this function is "Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion." Technically speaking, the only "Minister of the Eucharist" is a Priest, since he is the only one able to consecrate the sacrament. A recent document from the Vatican, Redemptionis Sacramentum, clarifies the terminology as follows:

This function is to be understood strictly according to the name by which it is known, that is to say, that of Etraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, and not “Special Minister of Holy Communion” nor “Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist” nor “Special Minister of the Eucharist”, by which names the meaning of this function is unnecessarily and improperly broadened. (Redemptionis Sacramentum, n. 156).



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Page Last Modified:  30 July 2015

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