Extraordinary Ministers - would you resign?

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Pat Laub:
Our Sunday Masses are 90 minutes apart. The parking lot is a huge problem when the Masses overlap. Having EMs help distribute the Eucharist does help eliminate any dangers on the lot.

Also, as far as taking the Eucharist to homebound and nursing home residents, the following are instructions given by Fr. Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University.

“Such a ministry could be carried out on the parish level by the priests or other authorized ministers who usually attend the sick and shut-ins by simply adding another call to their rounds. If this ministry were to be carried out within the confines of a parish, then the pastor could coordinate the initiative, although if the minister is not a priest, he or she would require the usual authorization from the bishop to act as an extraordinary minister.”

This practice of lay people helping to distribute the Eucharist is not something new. Remember the story of St. Tarsisius, who was beaten to death while carrying the Eucharist.

pat
This is a an excuse that I have not heard of before…
 
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1ke:
However, sometimes I go to mass at a small parish where there are generally 200 or so at mass and the priest(s) only give communion. There are 3, and 2 come out right before communion and communion is only under one species at this church.
It’s good to know that this is still being done somewhere. In the first parish I joined as a young adult (25 years ago), this is what was done. The priests who were not celebrating the Mass would come in from the rectory during the Our Father and leave after Communion. It was a beautiful thing to see the priests anxious to live out this part of their vocation.

Betsy
 
As an EM, I get scheduled once per month. When I am not scheduled, I dont make it a point to sit up front and storm up to the altar, like I see MANY do every weekend. But I wouldnt hesitate to say something if I noticed I was being asked when there is a Deacon, seminarian in training, etc… there’s no need… priests need to IGNORE parishoners who always tell them to hurry up the masses… this is usually the senior citizens who do the griping, but thats another story… the same people who pine for the Padre Pio priests of old, would freak if they knew his masses would run for over 2 hours.
 
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baltobetsy:
It’s good to know that this is still being done somewhere. In the first parish I joined as a young adult (25 years ago), this is what was done. The priests who were not celebrating the Mass would come in from the rectory during the Our Father and leave after Communion. It was a beautiful thing to see the priests anxious to live out this part of their vocation.
It’s the same way in my parish (presently). The only time we didn’t see that was when our pastor broke his right arm–it was too difficult for him while he was in the cast to try to distribute Communion. However, we have three priests, two permanent deacons (and soon to be 3–one will be ordained as a permanent deacon in about two weeks), and the only non-ordained who ever assist as EMOHC are two nuns.

But then, we still use the communion rail, and it doesn’t seem to take much time at all for everyone to receive. (Even if it did, what’s the rush?) We normally receive under only one kind, but on some occasions, intincted.
 
I have nothing against EMs - they do a good job helping out… BUT

I think the use of EMs has been too enthusiastically implemented.

I have been to masses where visiting priests were not asked to distribute communion but sit down during communion while EMs distribute the Eucharist.

I have also seen the presiding priest sit down during communion and let the EMs do the job!
 
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baltobetsy:
Servant1, you are right - I don’t think Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are a good idea, even though their existence is lawful. But that is my personal opinion, and I would not presume that everyone else should hold the same opinion.

But here is the experience from which I speak: In our parish, we have 2 Masses each weekday morning, one at 6:30, attended by about 20 people, and one at 8:00, attended by about 30. At 6:30, the priest and one Extraordinary Minister distribute Holy Communion, which takes about 40 seconds. At 8:00, the priest, the deacon and one Extraordinary Minister distribute Holy Communion, taking all of 30 seconds to do so. There is no possible way to say that people needing to go to work after Mass make it necessary to finish Communion that quickly. And even if they are in such a hurry, they can get in line first. On Sunday morning (or Saturday evening), of course there are more communicants, but I don’t think it would kill us to spend 5 more minutes in church so the priest could distribute Communion to everyone. It is really to these EMs that I address my question, would you resign. Our parish is rather small, and I know that these same conclusions cannot be applied to much larger parishes.

As I’ve said before in this thread, if priests are allowed to really be priests and fulfill their true pastoral duties, they will be happier in their priesthood and attract more vocations. If lay people truly want to help, they (we) should volunteer to do things that truly need doing, like teaching CCD or singing in the choir or any other thing that is not the ordinary duty of a priest.

Betsy
Well, Betsy -

First off, I personally think you are to be commended for the forthrightness of stating that what you say is your opinion. There’s nothing wrong with that AT ALL, though I may disagree. We’re allowed to do that and still love and respect each other! 🙂

You articulate well the problem(s) you see in your parish, and I’d be hard pressed to disagree with you on those specific circumstances. EMHC’s have a specific job to do under specific circumstances, and it seems clear that those circumstances are not being met in your instance.

IMHO the problem is the priest(s) who allow this to go on and become a habitual abuse, rather than the existence or institution of EMHCs at all. It is possible that some priests don’t understand the “rules & regs” concerning EMHC as well as they have been explained here in this forum! It is also possible that some are lazy. But we should probably be more ready to presume on the side of innocence rather than guilt, unless we know better for a fact.

SO - I think the burden of making this right generally should not rest on the shoulders of the laity who are, after all, for the most part just responding voluntarily to a request for “help” from their clergy. Making this right, then isn’t the job of the EMHC to be resolved by resigning. It is the burden of the clergy who should be both better educated about the details of the process and who should be well-instructed by their Ordinary. Why start a hue and cry for laity to resign from a legal (canonical) position? Why not concentrate on where the problem actually lies?

To quote a favorite Latin proverb of mine, “Abusus non usum tollit.” - - The abuse does not take away (remove) the use.

Blessings on your head 🙂 I know you only want the best for the Church!
 
I picture the pastor of a parish with too many EMs feeling very stressed about having to reduce the use of them, being afraid of the reaction he might receive - hurt feelings, resentment of the Church…whatever. If an EM realized on his/her own that he was contributing to an abuse in the parish, he might be doing the pastor a huge favor by stepping down.

Betsy
 
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baltobetsy:
I picture the pastor of a parish with too many EMs feeling very stressed about having to reduce the use of them, being afraid of the reaction he might receive - hurt feelings, resentment of the Church…whatever. If an EM realized on his/her own that he was contributing to an abuse in the parish, he might be doing the pastor a huge favor by stepping down.

Betsy
Yes! Some Eucharistic Ministers can get quite upset if told their services are not needed. They love to act like priests, giving blessings, reaching into the tabernacle, breaking the Sacred Host for distribution into smaller vessels for the Communion of the faithful, pouring the Precious Blood into individual chalices, etc. At my parish, there are now three female “masters of ceremonies” dressed in albs, who “coordinate” the liturgies and take care of these “little details” in lieu of the priests “having to take care of these details” themselves.

The Tridentine Latin Mass begins June 6 after a 20-year absence in this diocese. I’ll be there. Imagine. No EMs. No picnic attire. No chit-chatting. Nothing but reverence. Deo Gratias!
 
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Katholikos:
Yes! Some Eucharistic Ministers can get quite upset if told their services are not needed. They love to act like priests, giving blessings, reaching into the tabernacle, breaking the Sacred Host for distribution into smaller vessels for the Communion of the faithful, pouring the Precious Blood into individual chalices, etc. At my parish, there are now three female “masters of ceremonies” dressed in albs, who “coordinate” the liturgies and take care of these “little details” in lieu of the priests “having to take care of these details” themselves.
Sounds a great deal like my parish. Our “masters of ceremonies” are termed “Mass captains.” They “set-up” and “supervise” during the Mass. It would normally take one person 15 minutes of silent work to set-up. Now it takes twice that with all the chatter and trips across the sanctuary.
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Katholikos:
The Tridentine Latin Mass begins June 6 after a 20-year absence in this diocese. I’ll be there. Imagine. No EMs. No picnic attire. No chit-chatting. Nothing but reverence. Deo Gratias!
The Tridentine Mass will not eliminate these people. However, said people are precisely the type who would never attend a Tridentine Mass. Moreover, a Tridentine Mass tends to draw people who have had enough with liturgical abuses.
 
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baltobetsy:
I picture the pastor of a parish with too many EMs feeling very stressed about having to reduce the use of them, being afraid of the reaction he might receive - hurt feelings, resentment of the Church…whatever. If an EM realized on his/her own that he was contributing to an abuse in the parish, he might be doing the pastor a huge favor by stepping down.

Betsy
A great deal of this problem stems from ignorance and abominable catechesis. At my parish I would guess that not more than 1 in 10 EMHC could give even a decent explanation of the Mass. 1 in 10.

Changes would have to be done with explanation and tact, but it needs to get done.

This wouldn’t be an issue is EMHCs rotated through their assignments. It’s the “lifelong” uber-EMHCs that will be most upset.
 
Interesting stuff on this thread, but I wanted to ask about something very specific here–by whom is the term “Eucharistic Minister” forbidden? That’s what they’re called at my parish. My parish, incidentally, has 5,000 families, and several hundred attend most masses. We have five EMs assisting the priest at these masses. Weekday 8:30 masses are weakly attended, and only the priest distributes the eucharist. Our new priest has brought the use of EMs at least closer to liturgical correctness (when they approach the alter, not “passing the cup,” etc.), to the indignation of many.
–Duffy
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kmmd:
I have been asked several times (usually less than 1/2 hour before Mass begins) to be a Eucharistic Minister (note that this term is forbidden), when I explain that I have never been trained, they ask, “does that mean you won’t?” Several of the regular E.M.'s are women who have been divorced and remarried. Do they have annullments? Should I have to wonder?

Please pray for us!
 
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Duffy:
Interesting stuff on this thread, but I wanted to ask about something very specific here–by whom is the term “Eucharistic Minister” forbidden? That’s what they’re called at my parish. My parish, incidentally, has 5,000 families, and several hundred attend most masses. We have five EMs assisting the priest at these masses. Weekday 8:30 masses are weakly attended, and only the priest distributes the eucharist. Our new priest has brought the use of EMs at least closer to liturgical correctness (when they approach the alter, not “passing the cup,” etc.), to the indignation of many.
–Duffy
From Redemptoris Sacramentum:

#156. “This function is to be understood strictly according to the name by which it is known, that is to say, that of extraordinary 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.”

Eucharistic Minister = Ordinary Minister of the Eucharist = Bishop, Priest or Deacon. At first I thought people referred to EMHCs at “Eucharistic ministers” because they were being lazy.

Now I know it’s because they would love to further blur the differences between a ordinary Minister of the eucharist and a extraordinary minister of Holy Communion
 
Thanks for the info. I think at our parish this terminology is a matter of never having known any different. Like hand-holding during the Lord’s Prayer, it’s “how we’ve always done it,” so, strangely, these aberrations take on the force of tradition, when they are in fact innovations.
–Duffy

Crusader said:
From Redemptoris Sacramentum:

#156. “This function is to be understood strictly according to the name by which it is known, that is to say, that of extraordinary 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.”

Eucharistic Minister = Ordinary Minister of the Eucharist = Bishop, Priest or Deacon. At first I thought people referred to EMHCs at “Eucharistic ministers” because they were being lazy.

Now I know it’s because they would love to further blur the differences between a ordinary Minister of the eucharist and a extraordinary minister of Holy Communion
 
Yes, but I’m not one and I’m also a woman, so I’d expect to be the last person to be called upon and it would have to be a real emergency before I’d agree to fill in. I should explain:

I’m a convert and had the blessing of being received into a parish that had over 3700 families and the Pastor managed to keep the Mass very licit, holy and reverant in spite of the constant battle with many who wanted him to “get with it.” We had four priests who would appear at every Mass **no matter what ** to help with the distribution of the Blessed Sacrament. Sure we used EMEs but only as necessary. I even had a conversation with several folks who complained on a regular basis about our Pastor’s strict adherance to the “rules.” It worked.

I had no idea about Liturgical abuses till I started visiting other parishes and asked why everything was so different. Boy was I in for a rude awakening when I moved away. Now I’m in a parish where anything goes almost. I’ve had my battles with the Pastor here and he’s made a few reluctant changes after my complaints. I’m basically ostricized by most of the community for it too. I thank God on a daily basis for the Pastor who recieved me into the Church. In my book he’s a saint just for holding the line when things got tough. I’ve left Mass in tears on more than one occassion over the abuses I’ve seen. Seeing how beautiful the Mass could be before experiencing this Liturgical mess just makes me wonder why these folks insist on their own way. It also makes me wonder why so many of my brothers and sisters in Christ in the pews have put up with it all these years. The way God meant it to be is far more awesome than any mere man could think of. So, yes in light of the newly discovered requirements in regards to distribution of the Body and Blood of our Lord, if I were a EME and had just found out that I’d been abused and misused by those who have other ideas of what Mass should be, I’d resign.

Peace and all good,

Thomas2
 
My, my! How we all demand instant and easy service — even to receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. I remember when when only a priest touched the Sacred Species. Deacons were an extreme rarity in the U.S.; only one or two could be found at the Cathedrals of the very largest Archdiocese, and not all of them at that. The crowds in Church were many times larger than today. Other priests assisted when distribution of the Sacred Host would take more than 15 minutes or so. They were scheduled to assist if the parish did not have sufficient numbers in residence. It ALWAYS ws a priest who delivered Viaticum to the sick at home or in the hospital. He drove straight to the location; was meant in silence at the door with a lighted, blessed candle; there was no exchange of niceties; he went directly to the sick (most often heard their confession) and administered Viaticum. If he still had Viaticum to deliver (after a **very few ** words of comfort) he was escorted in silence with the candle back to the door. There was no opportunity missed to perform and to show resoect, awe, and adoration for the Real Presence.
 
Hello George,

You’re account of the delivery of Viaticum to the sick in the old days sounds absolutely beautiful to me. I guess today the fire ordinances in the hospitals and nursing homes has put the candle out. What a shame to waste all the beauty and grace of the Sacrament that the Lord has given. Sometimes I feel positively robbed by those who have rejected stuff like this in favor of some woman filling her Pyx right from the Tabernacle right after Mass and shoving It into her pocket and dashing off in her car for the nursing home to chat and “comfort” the sick and give them Holy Communion. I don’t think you can compare the two.

Peace and all good,

Thomas2
 
I have resigned!
  1. After 2 hours of training I was never formally commissioned.
  2. EMs (what the parish calls them) go up to the altar after the sign of peace.
  3. One EMHC goes to the tabernacle to retrieve the ciborium, and the same person returns all ciboriums after communion is finished.
I have brought up all these problems to the Pastorial Associate (a nun who has publicly stated she can’t wait for the liberals to get control of the Vatican as "she has been called to the priesthood?!), she ignored my request to comply with the GIRM. I could not take part and resigned.
 
Pope St. Gregory I, please pray for us. We need bishops who are more like you.
 
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