Extraordinary ministry of Holy Communion was introduced in the Archdiocese of Bombay in the year 1987. Lay men and women may be delegated to distribute Holy Communion by their Bishop, Parish Priest or Priest in charge. These persons are known as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. They are Persons authorised to distribute Holy Communion in special circumstances should they be commissioned by the Parish Priest or Priest in charge.
The rite of induction should take place in the presence of people preferably during Mass. EMHC have to work as per the Guidelines issued and instruction received from the Archdiocese. These instructions provide a deeper understanding of the Sacraments and rites in the celebration of the Eucharist and also help us to interact and respond to the Sick, aged and Home Bound in the parish.
It is a grace and privilege to be called to serve the church in some capacity. The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life. It is in partaking of the Holy Communion that a catholic receives the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. It is important that Catholics are not deprived of the opportunity to receive Holy Communion due to illness, age or infirmity.
This ministry helps the Eucharist minister to communicate a spirit of devotion and an understanding of the sacrament to the people they minister to. The work of an EMHC marks one as especially devoted to our Lord in the Eucharist.
The primary role of the EMHC is to carry the Eucharist to the sick and home bound; they are also called upon to assist the priest when there is larger number attending Holy mass.
Being part of the Eucharistic ministry team is not just a service but an Apostolate. Personally I feel it is a gift to be a Eucharistic Minister – since the whole work involves taking in hand the vessels of the Body of Christ and of the Blood of Christ and sharing them with his people.
The Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion regularly fulfil the following responsibilities in our parish.
1. Taking Holy Communion to the Sick and homebound assigned to him/her as per their need.
2. Assisting with distribution of Holy Communion at Masses on Sundays, Weekdays, and Special Mass and feast days.
3. Assisting with the imposition of ashes in church on Ash Wednesdays.