The Church has always had a great devotion to, and reverence for the Eucharist, and for much of Christian history lay people handled the sacred vessels and touched the sacred host. In the early Church, communion was received in the hand and it was normal practice for the faithful to take home the consecrated bread for distribution to the sick, both family and friends. These practices were the norm until the 8th century. From the 9th century onwards the handling of the sacred bread by the lay faithful was strictly forbidden. An outcome of Vatican 11 was the rediscovery of the Mass as a special meal and the teasing out of the implications of the extraordinary dignity and vocation of the baptized. This led to the authorizing of lay ministers to distribute Holy Communion. The ministry includes taking the Eucharist to the sick and housebound and also to the dying. In a sense, no one is worthy to be a Minister of the Eucharist but ministers need to balance “Lord I am not worthy” with “Happy are we who are called to receive him.”
Ministers of the Eucharist are appointed to exercise this ministry within their community.
Ministers of the Eucharist meet on certain occasions:
- Rotas are updated every three months
- There are special rotas for Lent, Holy Week and Christmas
- Ministers of the Eucharist serve at daily masses and Sunday masses
- We meet for a day of reflection every year
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