Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are lay members of a particular installation chapel community (to which a priest-chaplain is permanently assigned) who assist the priest in the distribution of Holy Communion at Mass, bring communion to the sick or aged, or expose the Blessed Sacrament in a chapel for Holy Hour because of the shortage of ordinary ministers.
Selection and Training
An EMHC must be a practicing Catholic, at least 18 years of age, baptized, confirmed, received First Communion, reverential, respectful of his/her faith and the Blessed Sacrament, of good moral character, and not in an illicit marriage.
An EMHC must be a qualified person chosen and trained by a priest-chaplain. The applicant’s name is submitted by using an online form via the myAMS portal to the Chancellor of the Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) only when a serious need exists. The EMHC must be properly installed by the priest-chaplain at a community celebration at the installation according to the rite provided in the Book of Blessings.
The priest-chaplain should do training and evaluation yearly (c.f. Priest’s Manual 188.8.131.52).
An EMHC is commissioned to function within the jurisdiction of the AMS for a period of three (3) years
An EMHC may distribute Holy Communion at Mass only when there are no ordinary ministers (Bishop, Priest, Deacon) present, or when those present are unable to distribute Communion, or when the large size of the congregation justifies it. An EMHC may also bring Communion to the sick or homebound members of the installation with the frequency recommended in the rite of The Pastoral Care of the Sick. EMHCs are ideally sent directly from Mass to establish the connection between the Eucharistic assembly and the sick.
An EMHC is not authorized to perform a communion service nor give a blessing.