Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist
The Holy Spirit can use the humblest of us in God’s work on earth. Ministries should be exercised in a spirit of fraternal service and dedication to the Church, in the name of the Lord (Catechism of the Catholic Church). When the necessity of the church warrants it, lay persons can distribute Holy Communion in accord with the prescriptions of law (Codex Iuris Canonici). “Christ establishes the laity as witnesses, provides them with the sense of the faith and grace of the word” (St. Thomas Aquinas). Thus each person, through these gifts given to him/her is at once the witness and living instrument of the mission of the Church herself “according to the measure of Christ’s bestowal” (Lumen Gentium).
In St. Bernardine’s Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are commissioned to serve for a year, during the Maundy / Holy Thursday Mass. They gather together before the altar, and prayers are said and responded to, presided over by our parish priest. These prayers are taken from the “Order for the Commissioning of Lay Ministers of Holy Communion” .
Currently, there are nineteen extraordinary ministers at St. Bernardine’s and there are normally two at each week-end Mass. Sometimes our priest requires that a Eucharistic Minister takes Holy Communion to the sick in home or hospital and also to lead the service of “Word and Communion” if either the priest or the deacon is absent and is not able to do this.
St. Bernardine’s have an active number of altar servers, predominantly taken from the younger generation, and parishioners who take it turn to read the lessons during Mass. Two or more attendants are present at each Mass, taken from a rota, who welcome parishioners into church, supervise the offertory collection, the offertory procession and any other organisational matters during Mass. There is a small pool of church organists, who play at the Sunday Mass, and a folk group which plays from time to time on special occasions.