5.3.2.1 Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

1. The norms of the liturgical books and the diocesan guidelines for the proper exercise of this ministry are to be sufficiently known and carefully observed by extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and their pastors as well as by anyone entrusted with the distribution of Holy Communion.

2. The pastor, rector or chaplain is competent to request permission from the diocesan bishop to commission members of the lay faithful who are qualified and suitably trained to serve as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. After this permission has been received, the candidates are to be blessed and commissioned according to one of the orders contained in chapter 63 of the Book of Blessings.

3. Extraordinary ministers are to function according to faculties given them by the diocesan bishop but under the direction of the pastor, rector or chaplain. In proposing them to the bishop or directing them, he may limit their service to the distribution of Holy Communion at Mass, or to its distribution to the sick and confined, or he may permit both. Having informed the chancery, he may remove someone from this function for a just cause.

4. A pastor, rector or chaplain may also permit a member of the lay faithful to bring Holy Communion to a sick relative or other parishioner for a period of time or for a single occasion. [1] (A text for Sending Forth the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to the Sick is contained in Guidelines for Ministers of Communion to the Sick, available at the diocesan website.)

5. In a special case of an unforeseen nature, any priest who presides at the celebration of the Eucharist may permit a member of the lay faithful who is known to him, even though not commissioned, to serve as an extraordinary minister at that Mass. [2] He may also permit a commissioned minister from another parish and whose credentials are known to him to distribute Holy Communion.

6. A pastor, rector or chaplain, carefully observing the norms of #5.3.4 Communion Services and Sundays Celebrations, may authorize an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, who has been commissioned, to conduct a “communion service” on occasion. In such a case, only the proper rite of Holy Communion and the Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass is to be used and its rubrics followed. (It is available at the diocesan website as Rite of Distributing Holy Communion Outside Mass — Presider Text for a Lay Minister.)



[1] See Guidelines for Ministers of Communion to the Sick (January 2003), under Proper Training of the Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.

[2] Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, Instruction on Certain Matters to be Observed or to be Avoided Regarding the Most Holy Eucharist, Redemptionis Sacramentum (April 23, 2004) n. 155. Also see the footnoted sources there. Available at Vatican website. [Hereafter Redemptionis Sacramentum.]


Date approved by Bishop


Posted by
Msgr. S. J. Raica, chancellor