Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC)

The Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC) envision to become the living presence of God through sharing the Body and Blood of Christ to fellow worshippers in the assembly and those who are sick and the homebound. We commit ourselves to bear witness to Christ’s love, compassion and self-giving as we build a community and serve the people of God, deepen our life of prayer and commitm1ent through active participation in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, renewals and devotions; attend trainings and on-going formation which will equip and enhance us for the ministry.

            EMHC receive spiritual, theological and practical preparation to fulfill their role, with knowledge and reverence. They show the greatest reverence for the Most Holy Eucharist by their demeanor, their attire and the manner in which they handle the consecrated bread and wine.

            EMHC work collaboratively with other ministries in all liturgical celebrations, whether at diocesan or parish functions. This ministry meets quarterly, or as a need arises. The members are encouraged and/or required to attend recollections being offered to them to be able to renew their commitment every year.

            This ministry is always welcoming anyone who would be willing to commit themselves in sharing the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ to others. If interested in becoming a part of this ministry, you may approach any of the Extraordinary Ministers or call and leave a message with the parish office at (808) 521-1700.

 

The Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion at Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa


  Dear Friends,
 
  Allow me to share with you my own journey towards finding the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and why I believe the Eucharistic Minister is at the heart of all ministries. I will then explore the essence and importance of the role of a Eucharistic Minister.  
 
  Even though I was educated in Catholic schools from first grade until I obtained my bachelor’s degree, and despite being intellectually aware that the Eucharist is the “body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ,” my eureka moment as to the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist did not occur until I reached the ripe old age of 36 - four years ago. This moment of enlightenment came one day when the priest at the Naval base in Bahrain scoffed at me at the end of daily mass for having salad leaves on my teeth.  Until then, I thought that fasting for an hour before communion was mere superstition. 
 
  Frustrated that our priest had singled me out, I raised the matter with my friend. She told me, “This is all based on how much you believe in the Eucharist. If you really believe in it, you would have fasted to make space in your body for God to enter. You wouldn’t have let any food interfere with this sacred process.  Fasting creates a physical hunger, which then becomes a spiritual hunger that only God can fill.” 
 
  Looking back, I would say my friend’s honest and open response
to what I thought was a humiliating rebuke was a great blessing.

  From then on, I started to see the Eucharist with eyes of faith.
The Host we receive is not a superstition!  It’s not bread! 
It’s not symbolic! It’s a person- and it’s alive!
We are taking into our bodies a living person, the risen Jesus Christ.  This new-found enlightenment led me to intensely value my role as a Eucharistic Minister so I can spread that love and share my own epiphany with others that they too may make the same wonderful discovery. 
 
  As Eucharistic Ministers, we fulfill the role of Christ’s hosts and servants at the Eucharistic banquet.  This communion rite is the heart and center — the ritual climax — of the entire Eucharistic liturgy. The penitential rite, the Bible readings, the consecration — are all directed toward the moment of communion in which we are fed and made one in the Lord.

  As St. Augustine wrote, “You are the body of Christ.’ If, then, you are Christ’s body, it is your own mystery which you receive. It is to what you reply ‘Amen,’. Be a member of the body of Christ and let your ‘Amen’ be true.” The communion into which Jesus invites us is a personal communion. It is the Eucharistic Minister’s responsibility to make the moment of communion for each member as personable as possible- not rushing in order to allow this moment its full ritual beauty.

This is not a ministry for efficiency experts, nor for those who are unable to look at their neighbor in the eye with comfort. Nothing is more important in this ministry than the ability to focus your attention on the person to whom you are ministering.

  If the Eucharistic Minister is looking down the approaching line or merely saying the “Body of Christ” in a repetitive way with no emotional connection, half the value of the encounter will be lost.

  Additionally, the Eucharistic Minister’s reverence for the sacrament will show itself in all his actions - in the way he walks toward the altar with dignity, how he dresses, and his manner of saying the “Body/Blood of Christ”.

Remember, this is not a business transaction, but a family meal, an act of personal communion. 

And there is another dignity in the role of a Eucharistic Minister.  In giving out Christ’s body and blood, just as Jesus did with the loaves and fishes, God transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary.  Your call to serve is as unexpected, as undeserved and as joyous as it was for the young boy whose loaves and fishes Jesus used to feed the multitudes!

  Finally, a Eucharistic Minister nourishes hope by giving others the grace of their own future resurrection. “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”(John 6:54)  It is a tremendously moving experience especially administering the Eucharist to the sick and the dying who clearly understand the power of the Eucharist.

And there is another dignity in the role of a Eucharistic Minister. In giving out Christ’s body and blood, just as Jesus did with the loaves and fishes, God transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary. Your call to serve is as unexpected, as undeserved and as joyous as it was for the young boy whose loaves and fishes Jesus used to feed the multitudes!

Finally, a Eucharistic Minister nourishes hope by giving others the grace of their own future resurrection. “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”(John 6:54) It is a tremendously moving experience especially administering the Eucharist to the sick and the dying who clearly understand the power of the Eucharist.

When we consider all these responsibilities in tandem, how can we not feel exalted at what the Lord gives to us when he gives himself in Holy Communion? How can we not think of the role of a Eucharistic Minister as anything but a wondrous privilege?

Just last week – coincidentally on the feast of St Anthony, I was venerating the statue of St Anthony carrying the infant Jesus, and it suddenly dawned on me that I also carry the Living and Glorified Jesus when I give communion. I felt overjoyed and enormously tearful at this thought. I just pray that every time I serve as Eucharistic Minister, I will not lapse into indifference but remain mindful of this awesome privilege and responsibility that has been given to me in becoming a host and servant of Christ’s Eucharistic feast.

In Christ,
Christine C. Myers
Eucharistic Minister, St. Theresa Co-Cathedral

 
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