What is an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion (EMHC)?
EMHCs (also sometimes called Eucharistic Ministers) are lay men and women who are trained to administer communion to assist the Priests during Mass and also to take communion to those people who cannot attend Mass due to illness or frailness.
This Ministry is one of service to the Church and to the Community of the Parish. Those who participate in this Ministry will tell you that the service gives each Minister much more than he/she gives. The deepening of our relationship to the Eucharist and its effect on those who receive it is just one of the many benefits of this Ministry.
Who can become an EMHC?
Ministers are asked to participate based on interest expressed by the candidates and/or by being asked or recommended by another Minister or a Priest. Candidates must be at least 18 years old and should keep in mind that he or she must be physically able to drive, climb steps, and be enthusiastic during the visitations.
How much time does an EMHC need to devote?
Time required to participate is at least 2 Masses a month and one visit a month to shut ins.
What sort of training is required?
Training takes just a few hours. There will be some instruction given by the priest who is the advisor for this ministry and then the name of each candidate will be sent to the Bishop for approval for commissioning. After that, each candidate will go out with another Minister in both the home and the institutional situation and take a tour of the churches to see how assisting in Mass works.
After training, each new Minister will be assigned to a team for weekend visits in either a private home or a nursing home environment. During this phase of training and introduction to the people being visited, the new Minister will ride along with someone from the team to be supported until he/she is comfortable enough to go on his/her own and until a new schedule will be made to include each Candidate in the weekly Mass Schedule.
When training is complete, how does it work?
When training is totally completed, a schedule within each team will be established by the members of that team. This schedule could be arranged so the visits would be the same as at least one of the weeks of Mass service. It is important to remember that often the Minister who visits is the only face to face visit the shut in will receive the entire week, so a few minutes to simply visit is often a treat for the person visited and time should be allowed for this visit. There will be a team captain who will see to it that new visits needing to be scheduled and all information regarding all visits for that team is distributed to each member.
Each team makes no more than 3-4 stops a weekend. Every attempt is made to keep the visits in close geographical proximity so as to have each Minister spending more time visiting rather than driving. The members of each team work together to make accommodations for scheduling conflicts so there is a great deal of flexibility in service.
I think I’d like to be an EMHC; now what?
We’d be glad to have you join our team. Please visit our Contacts / Resources page to find the contact information for the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.