The various ministries of the parish ..
The role of special ministers is to serve the assembly by distributing the elements during the Communion Rite, so they are called “Ministers of Communion” not “Eucharistic Ministers”. The latter term should be used only to refer to the ordained minister, the one who presides at the Eucharist. Ministers of Communion are described as extra-ordinary or special because the ordinary ministers of communion are bishops, priests and deacons, that is, those who have been admitted to holy orders.
At most celebrations of Mass there is only one priest and no deacon. Now that the majority of people receive communion every time they come to Mass and communion is usually under both kinds, special ministers are needed so that the time taken for communion is not disproportionately long in comparison with other elements of the liturgy
The bishop, as chief pastor of the diocese, is responsible for approving people as ministers of communion. These ministers are carefully selected by the parish priest. Prior to their designation to the ministry they are required to undertake preparation consisting of liturgical and spiritual formation as well as practical training. They are then commissioned by a public rite of designation celebrated in the community where they will function.
Communion ministers need to be those who respect all people and have a caring approach inside and outside the liturgy; who are comfortable making contact with people with eyes, words and hands; who are willing to forget themselves in order to serve others.
Communion ministers need to develop the art of dignified movement and be able to hold the plate and cup and share the consecrated bread and wine with reverence. Above all, they need the capacity to be truly present to the other in that special moment of communion together as members of “The Body of Christ”.
While accidents seldom occur, Communion Ministers need to know how to handle unusual situations that occasionally arise, for example:
- A host is dropped – the minister calmly picks up the host, places it on the altar or holds it with a thumb on the side of the paten, and gives a new host to the communicant. The minister or celebrant quietly and reverently consumes the dropped host after communion is completed.
- Some of the precious Blood is spilled – the minister places a purifier over the precious Blood, moves away from the area, takes a new purifier and continues distributing the consecrated wine. The spill can be dealt with after Mass.
- A communicant dips the host in the precious Blood –there is nothing that a minister can or should do at the time. If many people are doing this, then parish education about the practice of intinction might be called for.
In all these situations, the basic principles of hospitality and common sense apply. We would never make a guest in our home feel uncomfortable if a spill or other accident happened; likewise for Extraordinary Ministers of Communion who are hosts at the table of the Eucharist.
Ministers of the Word
Ministers of the Word are those who are commonly referred to as readers but they are much more than that.
You read a newspaper or a novel, you might read to your children. But with Ministers of the Word it is different. They are proclaiming the Word of God.
This is God speaking to all of us….. This is what I believe
The following is a copy of a document from The Liturgical Commission Of The Catholic Church
MINISTERS OF THE WORD
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. (Isaiah 40: 8)
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119: 105)
The Word of God endures, creates, gives life.
The importance of scripture in liturgy was perhaps lost to some extent in the Catholic Church until the reforms of the second Vatican Council reminded us of its central place.
“The Church has always venerated the Divine Scriptures just as she venerates the Body of the Lord.” (Dei Verbum 21)
“Christ is present in his Word since it is he himself who speaks when the holy Scriptures are read in the Church.” (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy 7)
The Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass spells out the link between scripture, faith and worship.
“The preaching of the word is necessary for the sacramental ministry. For the sacraments are sacraments of faith and faith has its origin and sustenance in the word. The Church is nourished spiritually at the table of God’s word and at the table of the eucharist.” (LMI 10)
The only contact that many Catholics have with the living word of scripture occurs at Sunday Mass. It is vital that this encounter be a positive experience so that they will develop over time a “warm and living love of scripture”.
Those who are called to be readers at Mass, then, take on an important ministry. In fact they are not ‘readers’ at all. Almost everyone can read, but only some can effectively proclaim the word of God. Those people who serve the liturgical gathering by proclaiming the scriptures are best described as ‘Ministers of the Word’.
What is needed to someone to carry out this role effectively? The basic requirement is faith in the word of God. A reader must be someone with a love of scripture who believes that it is alive and active and gives guidance.
Readers must understand what they are reading in order to clearly convey the meaning of a passage to others. Such understanding is achieved by careful preparation, starting well before the person is scheduled to read. This involves reading the scripture passages through several times, slowly coming to grips with what the words are saying. Readers should also have access to a readers’ workbook or scripture commentary to assist them. Practising reading the passages aloud is another important aspect of the preparation process.
Finally, ministers of the word need to have the skills required for reading aloud in public, including a strong voice which can be projected clearly and the ability to use speech techniques such as pace, pause and pitch to give vitality and variety to their reading.
I am often asked by parishes to recommend resources for training their ministers of the word. It seems that not everyone has discovered the addition that was made to Break Open the Word, the preparation book for readers published by The Liturgical Commission in Brisbane, several years ago. In the back of the book are a number of Readers’ Formation pages covering topics such as the arrangement of the lectionary, reading skills and a model for preparation. This material may be used with groups of readers in a parish setting or by readers individually who wish to improve their understanding and skill.
Holy Family Parish is blessed to have two very active singing groups, ~ the Choir of the Holy Family Church and ~ the Marlene Malone Singers Group. The groups alternate each week between the Masses at 5.30pm Saturday and 9am on Sunday. Choir rehearsals for the Holy Family Choir are held on Monday evenings at 5.45pm, in the Church. The Choir is directed by Margaret Heywood. The Marlene Malone Singers rehearse on Saturday mornings at 9am, also in the Church. Parish Library The Parish Lib