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Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. Revised Guidelines. Archdiocese of Boston


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Introduction

The ordinary minister of Holy Communion is a bishop, priest or deacon (canon 910, n. 1). However, other members of the faithful, known as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, may be commissioned to assist with the distribution of the Sacrament as needed (canons 230, n. 3 and 910, n. 2).1

The following guidelines for extraordinary ministers serving in the Archdiocese of Boston are effective on the First Sunday of Advent, 2008, replacing those issued on February 20, 1991. This new text reflects changes in both the universal law governing the Eucharist, as well as the particular law for the United States, and it must be read and interpreted in a way harmonious with these texts.2

Role of Extraordinary Ministers

Extraordinary ministers may distribute Holy Communion at Mass when there are insufficient ordained ministers capable of administering the Sacrament, to ensure a timely and reverent distribution of Communion.3

Outside of Mass, some extraordinary ministers may assist priests and deacons in the distribution of Holy Communion to the sick and homebound. Additionally, if an ordinary minister is not available, an extraordinary minister has the obligation to bring Viaticum to a dying person (canon 911, n. 2).4

Selection and Terms of Extraordinary Ministers

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