Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC) assist Priests and Deacons with the distribution of Holy Communion at Mass and to the sick and homebound in their places of residence.  Whether at Mass or in other special situations, the minister enables the recipient to share more deeply in the Body of Christ and experience the great love of the Triune God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


In 1973, in the document entitled Immensae Caritatis (“Immense Love”), Pope Paul VI  encouraged greater participation by the faithful in sacramental Communion. The Holy Father wrote:

"Present-day conditions demand that greater access to Holy Communion should be made possible so that the faithful, by sharing more fully in the fruits of the sacrifice of the Mass, might dedicate themselves more readily and effectively to God, and to the good of the Church."

Therefore, it seemed appropriate to the Holy Father to establish the framework for allowing EMHCs.  The ministers perform this extra-ordinary liturgical function only in a secondary capacity to assist the Priest and Deacon who are the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion. As Pope Paul VI noted, EMHCs perform this ministry to enable the faithful to participate fully in the sharing of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Who Can Serve

This ministry is open to those practicing Catholics ages 16 and over who meet the requirements of the Parish and the Diocese of Providence, have been nominated by the Pastor, and appointed by the Bishop. 

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