Friday, August 25, 2006

Commissioning extraordinary Communion ministers

As we move into the fall, you might be considering training and commissioning new Communion ministers (extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion).

Every Communion minister who is not a bishop, priest, or deacon must be commissioned by the Ordinary of the diocese (the Bishop or his delegate) at the request of the pastor. (In cases of emergency, when an extraordinary Communion minister is needed and no commissioned extraordinary Communion ministers are available, a pastor may depute a qualified person to assist at a particular celebration.)

Before your extraordinary Communion ministers begin their service, your pastor would send a letter to Bishop Patrick J. McGrath requesting that certain members of your parish be commissioned as Communion ministers. Here's a sample letter:

Dear Bishop McGrath:

I am requesting that the following persons be commissioned as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. They are active parishioners of N. and are fully initiated Catholics in good standing. They have been adequately formed and properly trained to be Communion ministers primarily at Mass.


[list names]


All have participated fully in our parish's preparation process, and they are committed to ongoing formation and instruction for the duration of their ministry. We believe they are ready to exercise this ministry for the good of our parish and the worshiping assembly.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.


Once you receive Bishop McGrath's approval, you can commission them according to the rite found in the Book of Blessings, Chapter 63.

Other liturgical ministers need not be commissioned by the Bishop, but they should also be adequately trained. It may also be good to bless them as they begin (or continue) their ministry. This previous article might help you in crafting a blessing of liturgical ministers.