Ministry of Eucharist
In every celebration of the Eucharist, there should be enough Ministers of Holy Communion so it may be distributed in a reverent and orderly manner. Bishops, priests and deacons distribute Holy Communion in virtue of their office as ordinary ministers of the Body and Blood of the Lord. (1) (SSV, (2) 27).
When the size of the congregation or the incapacity of the bishop, priest or deacon requires it, the celebrant may be assisted by other bishops, priests, or deacons. If such ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are not present, “The priest may call upon Extraordinary Ministers to assist him, i.e., formally instituted acolytes or even some of the faithful who have been commissioned per the prescribed rite. In case of necessity, the priest may also commission suitable members of the faithful for the occasion (GIRM 162).”
Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should receive sufficient spiritual, theological and practical preparation to fulfill their role with knowledge and reverence. In all matters, they should follow the guidance of the diocesan bishop (THLS, 28). When recourse is had to Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, especially in the distribution of Holy Communion under both kinds, their number should not be higher than what is required for orderly and reverent distribution of the Body and Blood of the Lord. In all matters, such Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should follow the guidance of the diocesan bishop (IBID).
All ministers of Holy Communion should show the greatest reverence for the Most Holy Eucharist by their demeanor, attire and the way they handle consecrated bread or wine. Should there be any mishap — as when, for example, the consecrated wine is spilled from the chalice — then the affected “area ... should be washed and the water poured into the sacrarium [GIRM, 280].” (THLS, 29).
Liturgy of the Eucharist
As the Agnus Dei or Lamb of God is begun, the bishop or priest alone breaks the Eucharistic bread. This can also be done with the assistance of the deacon and, if necessary, concelebrating priests.
Initial Training for Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist
Trainings occur throughout the year. Information on sessions will be updated upon scheduling. Additionally, if you are a training site and would like to have your program listed, please contact us. If needed, we can assist with the recommendation of the presenters and with the explanation of the structure of the program. In the meantime, with questions, please reach out to:
Instructions for Mandating of Persons Who Complete a Basic Training Course
Pastors or those who coordinate Minister of Eucharist in their parishes should request certificates and ID cards mandating individuals who have/has completed the initial training. This should be done in writing on parish letterhead. Requests can be send to our Office of Divine Worship and should contain the name of the individuals, the training location and program attended.
Letters for certificates and ID cards should be written to the attention of Mr. D. Todd Williamson, Director of the Office for Divine Worship. All certificates and ID cards, to be completed by the parish, will be mailed from our office.
Please allow seven (7) working days for delivery. Certificates and ID cards can be issued in English, Spanish or Polish. Please indicate how many certificates you will need and in what languages. For example, a parish may have 13 newly trained individuals who would like their certificates/ID cards as follows: 10 in English, two in Spanish and one in Polish.
Renewing of Persons Who are Mandated Ministers of Eucharist
After Labor Day of each year, letters are sent to pastors in parishes whose cycle is ending. This mailing contains forms to complete and return to the Office for Divine Worship for their parish's new, full, three-year term. When the paperwork has been received, new certificates and ID cards will be issued to the parish, to be completed for those who will be continuing service in this ministry.
Term of Service For Ministers of Eucharist
All parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago are divided alphabetically into 3 year terms or cycles of service as follows:
Cycle A: Parishes or institutions starting with letter “A” through “G”
Example: St. Agatha to Good Shepherd and Epiphany
Dates for Cycle A: December 1, 2019 to November 26, 2022
Cycle B: Parishes or institutions starting with letter “H” through “M”
Example: St. Hedwig to Mother Theodore Guerin
Dates for Cycle B: November 29, 2020 to December 2, 2023
Cycle C: Parishes or institutions starting with the letter “N” to “Z”
Example: Nativity of Our Lord to St. Zachary
Dates for Cycle C: December 2, 2018 to November 27, 2021
If a person has received training and wishes to begin serving during the parish or institution's current term, their time of service is the remainder of that particular cycle.
How to Structure the Training for Ministers of Holy Communion at Mass
In an attempt to standardize all training in the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Office for Divine Worship is asking that when training Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion for the parish, religious community or institution, ALL ministers in the Archdiocese of Chicago be trained according to this program in English or Spanish.
All ministers should receive a copy of “Guide for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, Third Edition,” published by Liturgy Training Publications, of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Information on how to order these manuals can be found here.
This training asks for 4 total hours, giving a solid basis on the theology and spirituality of the ministry, as well as directions for the practical aspects of the ministry.
A practicum for the proper manner of distributing communion in the local community and time for prayer and reflection together should also be part of this Archdiocesan Training.
After Ministers have been trained, please provide to the Office of Divine Worship on your parish or institution letterhead a list of names of those to be mandated. The Office will then provide a template which parishes can use to make certificates for the pastor or chaplain’s signature and distribution. Please address this request to:
Office for Divine Worship
Cardinal Meyer Center
3525 South Lake Park Avenue
Chicago, IL 60653