Notes from the 2013 Eucharistic Minister Workshop
1. Be Sure to Process In at the Beginning of Mass
Gathering by the font indicates that you play a vital role at Mass, serving as a Eucharistic Minister. This is also one way for everyone to know that you are present for the Mass for which you are scheduled, committed to serving the Body and the Blood of Christ to all the faithful who are gathered to give glory and praise to God!
Some EMs have little ones with them. If your little one would be alone as you process, then by all means don’t leave them alone in the pews. Bring them with you and have them process with you!
2. Seven (7), Five (5) and Three (3)
At the Saturday 5pm, Sunday 8am and Sunday 9.30am Masses, we need 7 Eucharistic Ministers to assist the priest with communion.
When the 11.30 choir is singing, we need EMs to serve: 1 host and 1 cup go up to the choir loft, while 2 hosts and 2 cups stand before the altar.
At the Sunday 5pm Mass, we have 3 EMs with the priest: 2 hosts and 2 cups.
On some occasions, we will have 12 communion stations at Mass, usually at the 4pm Christmas Eve Mass and the 9.30am Easter Sunday Mass. That means that we will have 2 hosts and 2 cups located between the baptismal font and the doors of the church. Watch out for all the people who are in the standing room area!
3. Approaching the Altar and Hand Sanitizer
When you approach the altar to serve as an EM, you may reverence the altar with a brief bow. Thank you for going to the credence table and using the hand sanitizer. We will put another hand sanitizer dispenser on the pew behind the ambo for those of you who approach the altar from the west side of the church.
4. Two Tiles is the Right Distance
When you gather around the altar, stand about 2 tile lengths away from the area rug. That will help keep the circle tight, but not suffocate the priest. It will also help him not have to go too far from the altar to distribute communion to you.
After you’ve received communion (both the Body and the Blood of Christ) be sure to step forward to the priest so that he knows that he is to give you a bowl of hosts or a communion cup to distribute at communion. Sometimes the priest can get confused with so many people in the sanctuary, and may not know who already has something to distribute for communion.
Also, be sure to give the Body and the Blood of Christ to the EMs and Altar Servers who may not yet have received communion.
5. Communion to the Handicapped
As you come down to the assembly, please look in the first pews to see if there are any who look like they are handicapped or who may have trouble coming forward for communion. Please go to them and give them communion.
Particularly (but not just) for Saturday night, please do keep an eye on the people in the short pews by the side door. Some of them may also have trouble coming up for communion, so you may need to go to them. After giving them communion, you will stay on that side of the church.
6. Places Everybody!
Here is where you should stand when there are 8 communion stations:
Two hosts are in the middle aisle; one of those hosts is given by the priest. The people with the other two hosts should stand in front of the first pews, near the leg support for the pew.
Two cups are on either side, one by the steps in front of the brass altar rail, and the other a few steps behind. For those on the side of the choir, do your best to find the best place for you!
7. Those Odd Situations
Some people come up for communion and say this! If they do, it is ok to quietly ask if they are Catholic or if they are receiving communion. If they say that they do, then do give them the host. If they say “No”, then you may give them a blessing, just as you would a child or an adult) who does not receive communion.
Offer a blessing in whatever way you are comfortable – a sign of the cross, “May God bless you,” or any other blessing that you’d like. It ought to be brief but convey that the person is blest by God!
Take the host and run!
It does happen from time to time that a person receives a host, but then walks away and does not consume it. If you see this happen, leave your station and go chase the person down. Politely ask if they will consume the host. If they don’t plan to consume the host, ask for it back. You may then consume it yourself, or give it to the priest at the end of communion and explain what happened.
Some people will receive a host, then walk to the cup and try to dip the host into the Blood of Christ. This is called intinction, and it is an ancient practice that is not preferred anymore. The preference today is to eat the Body of Christ and to drink the Blood of Christ as two separate elements. If you have the cup and someone tries to do this, politely cover the cup and let the person know that they should eat the host and drink the cup – no dipping allowed!
Receiving the Host on the Tongue
Some people continue the tradition of receiving the host on their tongue. Please be as respectful and reverent as possible for the person who wishes to receive in this way. You may want to keep the host between your forefinger and thumb, and kindly slide the host into the person’s mouth.
8. Communion for the Saturday night and Sunday 9.30 Choirs
There should be two hosts and two cups for communion for them. Stand in pairs (1 host and 1 cup) on either side of the pillar.
9. I’m Done or I’m Out!
If you are running low on hosts, try to make eye contact with the adult altar server so that she or he may bring the ciborium, the container of hosts, to you. Or, you may ask other EMs for more hosts.
If the communion cup is empty, please do not stand there and cover your cup. Instead, return the cup to the credence table in the back corner, then return to your pew.
10. OK, We’re done with communion. Now what?
At the end of communion, you’ve brought back the hosts to the altar or returned the cup to the credence table. The priest will place the extra hosts in the ciborium. If there is still some of the Blood of Christ remaining, please consume the rest, or ask other adults to consume it, or cover the cup so that it may be reverently disposed of after Mass.
When you return to your pew, please do not bow to or reverence the altar. The Body and the Blood of Christ are no longer there – it is within all of us!
11. Process Out
Remember that at the end of Mass, the EMs, along with all the other liturgical ministers, process out. When you reach the font, be sure to follow the altar servers as they head back to the sacristy.
12. Wash Up!
After Mass, please be sure to come to the sacristy to help with cleaning the vessels used for communion. The priest’s chalice, the communion bowls and the communion cups, as well as other bowls and pitchers, need to be washed.
Bring all the vessels to the sacristy sink. Before washing anything, rinse everything out on the left-side sink. This is a special sink called a sacrarium. It drains directly into the ground. This should be used especially for those vessels that contain the hosts or the Blood of Christ, rather than rinsing them into the sewer system!
After the vessels have been rinsed, then they can be washed with soap and hot water in the right-side sink, that does go into the sewer. Do not use soap and let it go down the sacrarium; the soap should go into the sewer.
Thanks for all that each of you does, and for reading through this whole update!!!
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