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Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC) may be appointed in parishes, religious houses, and chaplaincies in situations of genuine pastoral need where ordinary ministers are not available or are insufficient in number:

  • a. to facilitate the distribution of Holy Communion within Mass when there is a large number of communicants;

  • b. to allow for a more frequent, even daily, administration of Holy Communion outside of Mass to those impeded from attending Mass because of sickness or physical weakness.

Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion assist priests and deacons in administering Holy Communion. They may not replace them, except on those occasions when the ordinary minister is impeded from administering Holy Communion because of ill health, advanced age, or other pressing pastoral obligations.

It is the responsibility of pastors, chaplains and religious superiors, within their respective jurisdictions, to evaluate the need for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and to identify worthy candidates for this service. The number of Extraordinary Ministers in a parish, chaplaincy or religious house should correspond to genuine pastoral need. The number should not be so few as to unduly burden any one minister, yet not so large as to make it appear that this ministry is a regular and normal expression of lay participation in the Eucharist.

To serve as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, persons must:

  • a. be practicing Catholics, distinguished in their Christian life, faith and morals;

  • b. be at least 18 years old;

  • c. have received the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist;

  • d. demonstrate a deep reverence for and devotion to the holy Eucharist;

  • e. possess the requisite abilities and temperament to carry out their assigned duties.

Diocese of Orlando EMHC document