Can an “extraordinary minister” serve the Eucharist?


QUESTION: if only a priest can serve the Eucharist, why is his authority delegated to “extraordinary ministers”?

ANSWER: In the last years of the pontificate of John Paul II, the Congregation’s Redemptoris Sacramentum for the Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments was published. This document is dedicated to the celebration of the Eucharist and the prevention of various abuses. The text clarifies some aspects of emergency ministry. First, it is noted that the minister who can celebrate the Sacrament of the Eucharist in persona Christi is exclusively a priest who has been ordained in a valid manner. Therefore, of course, only the priest is the minister of the Eucharist. By virtue of the ordination, the text goes on to say, “the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are bishops, priests and deacons,” who must administer the Holy Communion to the faithful during the celebration of Holy Mass. Thus, their service in the Church and the fulfillment of the mysterious sign should be manifested with fidelity and fullness. “

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