“AS MINISTERS OF THE EUCHARIST, OURS IS THE TASK OF MINISTERING THE BODY and BLOOD OF CHRIST TO THE BODY OF CHRIST AND SHARING THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST WITH OUR FELLOW WORSHIPERS”.
Prayer: Jesus, bless these hands you have chosen as your tools.
Jesus, always keep us aware and in awe of our sacred mission.
Jesus, make us worthy of this great ministry we have humbly accepted.
Jesus, send us out into the world to distribute your love.
The purpose of this procedure is to provide a standard liturgical form for the use of all Ministers of the Eucharistic. It is intended as a resource both for Existing Ministers and for those who are being trained to be Eucharistic Ministers.
2. Number of Ministers:
Three or more ministers as assigned.
Check the Church rota for Eucharistic Ministers regularly to see what Mass you are scheduled for. Try and find a substitute if you are unable to serve as scheduled. Dress for the Ministry should be respectful and appropriate.
4. Procedure at Mass:
4.1.1. Arrive at the Church c. 10 mins before mass and sign-in on the attendance book in the Sacristy.
At least one of the Ministers should check the “set-up” for Distribution of Communion – Hosts and Wine, Chalices and Ciboria, Key for Tabernacle, Purificators, Water & Towel etc. Check if there are Altar Servers present – if not agree with the Priest who will bring up the chalices, water and towel etc as detailed in 6 below – “ Altar Server Procedure.”
4.1.2. All join in the opening prayer and process out to the Altar. In the procession the Minister of the Word walks in front of the Priest, holding the Book of the Gospels up high. The Altar server(s) lead(s) the procession followed by the Ministers of the Eucharist. On reaching the Altar stand in line with the Priest, bow with him, turn and go to your seat.
5. DURING MASS.
5.1 Everyone should prepare himself/herself to receive Holy Communion. Preparation becomes even more appropriate for those who will distribute Holy Communion.
5.2. Approaching the Altar
- During the Lord’s Prayer, make your way to the front of the altar and stand in line. When all present turn left proceed to the Credence table, symbolically wash hands and proceed on to the Altar standing in line behind the Priest.
- The first minister who reaches the altar is to go to the tabernacle, open the door, genuflect, remove the ciborium, close the door and bring the ciborium to the altar and place it on the square cloth in the center.
5.3 Communion for the Altar Servers and Ministers.
- After the priest finishes his Communion, he will give the ministers and altar servers the Body of Christ. Consume it immediately.
- He will then hand a chalice and a purificator to the first minister. (If Communion is under both species a number of Ministers will be given chalices).
- Take the cup, drink from it and give the cup to the other ministers. The last Minister to receive the Cup should, after receiving, place it on the Credence Table for Coeliacs. Gluten free hosts
- After the Blood of Christ has been received the priest will give the ciboria/patens with the hosts to the ministers.
- Wait until everyone has their vessel and the Priest begins to go to the front, then the ministers should proceed to their stations -on the Ambo side and the Choir side – unless otherwise directed.
5.4 Administering the Body of Christ
- Hold up the Body of Christ in the line of vision between you and the person receiving the Body of Christ so that the person focuses on the Body and not on you.
- After, not while, raising the Body to the proper height, say with reverence, ‘The Body of Christ’. Do not rush this! Do not add any other words, as this is not allowed.
- Wait a moment to give the communicant time to respond with ‘amen’.
- Most people hold out their hands for you to gently lay the Body of Christ into them and some want the Body placed in their mouths.
- If a child approaches and you are in doubt if he should receive Communion, ask the parents.
- If it is a small child, make the sign of the cross on his forehead and offer a short blessing, for example: God bless you.
- From time to time, someone may approach who does not wish Communion. Make the sign of the cross on this person’s head and offer a heartfelt blessing similar to the one above, for example: May the good Lord bless and keep you safe today and all the days of your life.
- If you run out of hosts and the ciborium is on the altar, get more from there, alternatively, if it is clear that you are going to run out of hosts it is permissible to divide them into two pieces.
- If you finish before the other Ministers check if they need help – if so, join them.When all have received place all the remaining hosts into one of the Minister’s Ciboria. This Minister should go to the Tabernacle Open the door, place the ciborium inside, genuflect and close the door. Turn the Key and take it to the credence table.
1. Under no circumstances are additional Hosts to be given to communicants so that they may pass
them to other people. Anyone requesting additional Hosts in should be directed to see a
priest or deacon after Mass. If someone informs you that additional communicants, who are
unable to come forward, are in another location of the church, you should have that person lead
you to the location. Holy Communion is to be distributed only by a priest or deacon, or a
Minister of the Eucharist.
2. Accidents with the Holy Eucharist
If a Host is dropped, immediately pick it up and consume it.
5.5 Administering the Blood of Christ to the congregation
- Stand back so that people can comfortably walk past you if they choose not to take the Blood of Christ.
- Please do not stand too close to the minister with the host. Stand apart and further back from the minister with the Body of Christ.
- Open your purificator. Do not leave it folded.
- Hold the chalice level with your heart. When someone approaches you to receive the Blood, raise the chalice up to eye level between the two of you and, after reaching the proper height, say with reverence ‘The Blood of Christ’. No other words are allowed.
- Wait a moment to give the communicant time to respond with ‘amen’.
- Hand the chalice to the person receiving the Blood of Christ.
- Take the chalice back and wipe the rim (inside and out) with the open purificator and turn the chalice about a ¼ turn.
- Continually change the part of the purificator being used.
- Intinction (dipping the host into the cup) is not allowed. Be very gentle and sensitive in your refusal. Normally, just putting your hand over the top of the chalice is enough to let the communicant know that we don’t do it. Do not cause embarrassment to anyone.
- After everyone has finished communion bring the cup to the credence table and then drink the remaining Blood of Christ (or as much of it as you can).
- If you were unable to finish all the Blood of Christ yourself, ask one of the other ministers to drink it.
- If you run out of the Blood of Christ before the end of Communion, then you should tell anyone waiting that you have no more and return the vessel to the credence table.
- Immediately return to your seat when finished unless you are purifying the vessels. Do not wait for the other ministers.
Special Note. - What to do if the Blood of Christ is spilled
- Do not panic.
- If the communicant seems upset, reassure the person that all is well and you will deal with it.
- If it is a small spill, use a corner of your purificator to blot the Blood.
- Step away from the spot so that it will not be walked on.
- After Mass, clean the spot with water and blot it up with a purificator. Do not use tissues or paper toweling to clean up the spill. Use your purificator only.
- If the spill is large, cover the spot with your purificator, step away from it to ensure that nobody will walk on it and clean it up after mass with water and the purificator.
- There is always an extra purificator on the altar.5.6 Purifying the vessels
- Purifying should be done by the first 2 ministers who finish serving.
- Bring your vessels to the credence table and if there are 2 ministers already cleaning the vessels, return to your seat. If not, begin cleaning the vessels.This is the procedure which is to be followed in the purification and a copy should be on the credence table also:
- Any Blood of Christ should be consumed first.
- Ciboria/Patens should be wiped out with a purificator and any bits gently scraped into one of the chalices.
- Add water to the chalices, swirl it around being sure to catch any bits, say the following prayer which will be printed and available on the side table:
“Lord, may I receive these gifts in purity of heart.
May they bring me healing and strength, now and forever.”
- Afterwards, drink the water and dry the chalice thoroughly. Fold the purificators and leave them on the chalices.
6. In the absence of Altar Servers a Minister (or two) of the Eucharist will follow the following procedure.
STANDARD PROCEDURE FOR MINISTERS OF THE EUCHARIST ACTING IN PLACE OF ALTAR SERVERS
- NUMBER OF SERVERS:
One or two Ministers of the Eucharist.
Check the chalice(s), cruet filled with water, and bowl for the washing of hands and towel are on the credence table. (Note: Purification cloths on Altar).
6.3 PROCEDURE AT MASS.
- When the gifts are being brought to the altar the altar servers go to the credence table. Altar server no. 1 carries the two chalices reverentially to the Altar, one in each hand, places them on the Altar, bows and goes back to the side table to bring up the towel and bowl for the washing of hands. (If one chalice is involved the chalice and water cruet may be brought up together, one in each hand.) In the meantime Altar server no. 2 brings up the cruet of water, less the stopper, for the mixing of the water and wine. When the Priest has completed this, the Altar server takes the water cruet and the wine cruet and stands back from the Altar. The second Altar server stands close to the Altar to facilitate the washing of hands by the Priest. When this is completed Altar server No. 2 lines up beside the first Altar server, they bow together, turn and return to the credence table with the bowl and cruets. They then return to their seats. (If only one chalice is involved then Altar server No. 2 brings up the bowl of water and towel.)
- If one Altar server is involved the cruets are returned to the credence table before the bowl and towel are brought up.