Extraordinary Ministers

The Eucharist is the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.  An inward preparation is required that includes prayer and fasting as prescribed by the Church.  This preparation creates the disposition of our heart, mind and soul for the ministry being undertaken, and should be taken very seriously.  Because there is a need to substitute for absent Eucharistic Ministers or otherwise serve in this capacity, it is important to make these preparations before the weekend Mass you attend in case you are needed.


  1. Please arrive 10-15 minutes before Mass and let the Sacristan and/or priest know that you are there.  Remember to dress appropriately.  In addition, consuming or having breath mints, candy, chewing gum, etc. in your mouth while receiving or distributing the Eucharist is not appropriate.  If you cannot participate in the Mass you are scheduled, please request a substitute through the online scheduling system.
  2. The Eucharistic Minister to first arrive should check that everything is set up properly for Mass per the Set-Up Instructions below (the Sacristan may already have everything prepared, but a second set of eyes is helpful).  If a deacon or concelebrating priest will be assisting and were not scheduled, one or more EMs may have to stand down.  Coordinate this, when necessary, with the Sacristan and other scheduled EMs.
  3. During the “Lamb of God” prayer, approach the Altar and stand to the right of the priest.  Remember, the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle should not be used unless the bread that was consecrated at this Mass runs out.  Receive Holy Communion from the priest.  He will distribute the Body of Christ to all Eucharistic Ministers, and then the Blood of Christ (if a deacon is present, the Blood of Christ will be distributed by him).  Wait for the sacred vessel to be handed to you for you to distribute.
  4. Take your position as instructed and distribute to the assembly.  If you are distributing the Body of Christ, hold the Host up, look at the person, and say clearly, “The Body of Christ.”  Please refrain from addressing the recipient by name.  After they have responded, “Amen,” carefully place it in their hand or on their tongue.  If you are administering the cup, hold the cup out, look at the person, and say clearly, “The Blood of Christ.”  After they respond, “Amen,” hand them the cup.  A smile is wonderful, but conversation with the communicant other than that prescribed above is not appropriate.
  5. When the cup is handed back to you, take the purificator and wipe the rim area used to drink from and rotate the cup one-quarter turn before holding it out for the next person.  If Sacred Blood should happen to be spilled, use your purificator to blot then cover the area.  If a host drops on the floor, pick it up and consume it immediately or consume it when you are done.  If you run out of Hosts consecrated at this Mass, you may go to the Tabernacle and retrieve the Ciborium.  If you are concerned about running out of the Body of Christ, you can begin to break the hosts into half pieces, or smaller pieces, as appropriate.
  6. Music Ministers will be last to receive Communion.  The organist indicates an intention to receive Communion by using a green or red sign on the organ.  Place yourself in a position that seems appropriate based on the size of the choir.  When they complete the music, they will come to you to receive.
  7. After Communion, take the Ciborium (bowl) to the Altar.  With vessels placed on the corporal at the Altar, carefully transfer Hosts to the Ciborium and then place the Ciborium in the Tabernacle.  If a deacon is present, allow him to perform these tasks.  Genuflect before you close the door of the Tabernacle.
  8. If you are able, consume any remaining Blood of Christ at the Credence table.  If there is too much to consume, the cup(s) should be left on the Credence table, covered with a purificator(s), until after Mass.  All the vessels, cups and bowls, should be left on the Credence table until after Mass.  Do not wipe the inside of any of the vessels with the purificator without first using water to purify the vessels (see next item).
  9. After Mass, all sacred vessels should be purified in silence at the credence table before being taken to be sanitized (washed).  To purify a vessel, a small amount of water from a water pitcher should be poured in each of the vessels (bowls and cups), and swirled to dissolve all fragments in the bowls and the residue in the cups.  The water should then be consumed so none of the Body and Blood remains in the vessels.  The vessel should be gently wiped with a purificator and then be taken to the East Sacristy to be washed and then set back out for the next Liturgy (or should be taken to the main Sacristy if no Liturgy follows).  It is the responsibility of all Eucharistic Ministers to assist first in the purification and then in the washing of the vessels.  Never wash a sacred vessel unless it has first been purified.  The purificator and corporal linens should be treated as sacred linens because of the Consecrated fragments collected on them.

Setup Instructions For Eucharist

At every Mass the following items should be on the Credence table (the table to the right of the Tabernacle):

  • 4 Cups and the Presider’s Chalice (5 vessels)
  • 4 Purificators (rectangular cloths for the cups)
  • 1 Cruet of water
  • 1 or 2 Ciboria (empty bowls) for Communion (usually 1 bowl at 5 p.m. & 8 a.m., and 2 bowls at 10 a.m.)
  • 1 Glass bowl for the washing of the hands
  • 1 Hand towel
  • 1 Pitcher of water
  • 1 Tabernacle key (check the key label)
  • 1 Corporal (square cloth for the Altar)

When checking to see that all items are in place, inspect the sacred vessels, particularly the Cups, to insure that they are clean and ready for use.  If there is a residue on the inside surface of any of the Cups, they should be washed prior to being used.

The bowl of hosts and the pitcher of wine intended for consecration should be on the gift table in the back of church.  For the 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. Masses, the pitcher should be usually filled with wine to a level that just reaches the bottom of the arms of the cross that is etched on the pitcher.  For the 10 a.m. Mass, the pitcher should be filled with wine to a level half-way between the arms and top of the cross.

The amount of hosts needed in the bowl will depend upon the Mass and the amount of Blessed Sacrament in reserve in the Tabernacle.  If much is in reserve in the Tabernacle, then less will be needed for consecration.

A full small Ciborium holds 180 hosts and a half-full large Ciborium holds 250 hosts.  Use the average Mass attendance to judge how many hosts to set out, keeping in mind the amount of Tabernacle reserve.

Normally, a full small Ciborium (bowl) of hosts is needed for the 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. Masses, and a half-full large Ciborium (bowl) of hosts is needed for the 10 a.m. Mass.  The presider’s host (large Altar host) should be placed on top of the smaller hosts at each Mass.  Special-event Masses may require more hosts.

At the 5 p.m. Mass, insure that the set up has been done.  Following this Mass, purify and sanitize all sacred vessels, then set up for the 8 a.m. Mass.  Place a plastic cover over the wine pitcher.

At the 8 a.m. Mass, insure that the set up has been done.  Following this Mass, purify and sanitize all sacred vessels, then set up for the 10 a.m. Mass.  Place the plastic cover over the wine pitcher.

At the 10 a.m. Mass, make sure that the set up has been done.  Following this Mass, purify and sanitize all sacred vessels, then store all sacred vessels in the main Sacristy.

After each Mass, the used purificators should be placed in the bottom, lower right cabinet in the main Sacristy.  If the Corporal and/or hand towel are soiled, they should also be placed there, otherwise, these linens may be used again.

Wine is stored in the Sacristy in the bottom, lower right cabinet (by the used purificators).

Hosts are stored in the Sacristy in the top, upper right cabinet.

Water is stored in the Sacristy and found under the long table which is located under the windows.

Sacred linens (clean) are in the Sacristy and found in the right-hand drawer of the counter top.

Sacred vessels are stored in the Sacristy in the top, upper middle cabinet.