Reception by eucharistic ministers

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PhloridaPhil
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Reception by eucharistic ministers

Post by PhloridaPhil » Mon Jan 05, 2015 3:11 pm

I am thousands of miles away from my back copies of liturgical magazines.

Does anyone recall, as I do vaguely, an article by Christopher Walker written quite a few years ago perhaps for the SSG magazine and perhaps entitled 'Called to holiness' or something like that?

In the article he made some really acute observations on the time it took to get communion out to the assembly, seeking to avoid the delay for reception by various ministers first.

If you can provide this in an emailable form or can point me to it I'd be grateful. I'd need it ideally before Wednesday 14 January.
Thanks

Phil

PhloridaPhil
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Re: Reception by eucharistic ministers

Post by PhloridaPhil » Fri Jan 16, 2015 4:05 pm

Not even Christopher Walker could recall writing the article so perhaps I should give up on that avenue of enquiry!

The problem is that it seems to take so long before the congregation sees any distribution to them. There are eight Eucharistic ministers at each of seven masses and usually one priest and deacon and a few servers. GIRM insist that the Eucharistic ministers receive the vessels for distribution directly from the priest and this adds to the delay.

I am inviting consideration of the ministers receiving from one who EM who has received communion from the priest. Is that permitted? There is certainly no need for the servers to receive at this point as they serve no function at this point in the Mass and in fact will not have done between the clanging of the last bell and the taking of the Sacramentary to the celebrant for the Post-Communion Prayer, these two actions usually being achieved by only one server. Musicians here receive towards the end of the process.

Any guidance gladly received!

Southern Comfort
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Re: Reception by eucharistic ministers

Post by Southern Comfort » Fri Jan 16, 2015 5:16 pm

PhloridaPhil wrote: GIRM insist that the Eucharistic ministers receive the vessels for distribution directly from the priest and this adds to the delay.

I am inviting consideration of the ministers receiving from one who EM who has received communion from the priest. Is that permitted? There is certainly no need for the servers to receive at this point as they serve no function at this point in the Mass and in fact will not have done between the clanging of the last bell and the taking of the Sacramentary to the celebrant for the Post-Communion Prayer, these two actions usually being achieved by only one server. Musicians here receive towards the end of the process.

Any guidance gladly received!


GIRM 162 says this:

These ministers should not approach the altar before the Priest has received Communion, and they are always to receive from the hands of the Priest Celebrant the vessel containing the species of the Most Holy Eucharist for distribution to the faithful.


A restrictive reading of this would insist that every single person had to receive from the presider personally. However, common practice in parishes is for a deacon (and sometimes, if there is no deacon, an MC) to assist the presider. For the scrupulous, once the presider has handed a vessel to a deacon or other person, that person has now "received" and can in turn hand on vessels to others.

Think of a celebration presided over by a bishop. There's no way the bishop is going to give out vessels to all the ministers, whether lay or ordained. He will certainly be assisted in this by others. Indeed, he may not actually hand a single vessel to anyone else. The same sort of thing can be true at a normal parish Eucharist. Elderly and infirm priests constitute another occasion when vessels will be distributed by others.

Many dioceses also have guidelines which say that ministers can give Communion to each other at the end of the distribution if there is a surplus of consecrated [bread and] wine that needs to be consumed.

The same mindset which wrote large parts of Redemptionis Sacramentum, which was desperate to re-establish the role of the priest in the face of what the authors thought was a downplaying of that role, is evident in this sentence from GIRM. I think we live in more mature times.

I also draw attention to the fact that the first part of the sentence, regarding when ministers are to approach the sanctuary, is routinely superseded by local law. For example, in England and Wales the guidelines of the bishops' conference state that ministers should approach the sanctuary during the Sign of Peace.

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mcb
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Re: Reception by eucharistic ministers

Post by mcb » Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:40 pm

Southern Comfort wrote:GIRM 162 says this:

These ministers should not approach the altar before the Priest has received Communion, and they are always to receive from the hands of the Priest Celebrant the vessel containing the species of the Most Holy Eucharist for distribution to the faithful.


A restrictive reading of this would insist that every single person had to receive from the presider personally. However, common practice in parishes is for a deacon (and sometimes, if there is no deacon, an MC) to assist the presider. For the scrupulous, once the presider has handed a vessel to a deacon or other person, that person has now "received" and can in turn hand on vessels to others.

Think of a celebration presided over by a bishop. There's no way the bishop is going to give out vessels to all the ministers, whether lay or ordained. He will certainly be assisted in this by others. Indeed, he may not actually hand a single vessel to anyone else.

I think the purpose here is to stipulate that extraordinary ministers may not administer Communion to themselves, in the way that priest concelebrants may take directly from the altar (as laid down in GIRM 242 and 248). If you take this view, GIRM 162 isn't really ruling that ministers can't receive from another minister; rather, that they have to receive from someone rather than help themselves, so to speak.

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Re: Reception by eucharistic ministers

Post by Southern Comfort » Fri Jan 16, 2015 11:07 pm

mcb wrote:I think the purpose here is to stipulate that extraordinary ministers may not administer Communion to themselves, in the way that priest concelebrants may take directly from the altar (as laid down in GIRM 242 and 248). If you take this view, GIRM 162 isn't really ruling that ministers can't receive from another minister; rather, that they have to receive from someone rather than help themselves, so to speak.


I agree absolutely. Even deacons may not serve themselves. But it seems from what Phil said that his pastor may be interpreting the ruling in a very narrow fashion. I was trying to give him some ammunition for a discussion.

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Re: Reception by eucharistic ministers

Post by Keraulophon » Tue Jan 20, 2015 3:46 pm

Southern Comfort quoted GIRM 162: "These ministers should not approach the altar before the Priest has received Communion, and they are always to receive from the hands of the Priest Celebrant the vessel containing the species of the Most Holy Eucharist for distribution to the faithful."

Yet the newly published Parish Mass Books used in our parish (from McCrimmons) quote an official source to say that it is most appropriate for the ministers to go up to the altar as the Sign of Peace is being exchanged.

Southern Comfort
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Re: Reception by eucharistic ministers

Post by Southern Comfort » Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:05 pm

Keraulophon wrote:Southern Comfort quoted GIRM 162: "These ministers should not approach the altar before the Priest has received Communion, and they are always to receive from the hands of the Priest Celebrant the vessel containing the species of the Most Holy Eucharist for distribution to the faithful."

Yet the newly published Parish Mass Books used in our parish (from McCrimmons) quote an official source to say that it is most appropriate for the ministers to go up to the altar as the Sign of Peace is being exchanged.


See the final paragraph of my post on 16 January, above, where I clarified that contradiction.

PhloridaPhil
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Re: Reception by eucharistic ministers

Post by PhloridaPhil » Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:25 am

Southern Comfort writes
But it seems from what Phil said that his pastor may be interpreting the ruling in a very narrow fashion. I was trying to give him some ammunition for a discussion.


I would want to say that the Pastor understands and applies a collaborative approach like few I ever encountered in UK. He seems very open to considering differing views and I suspect that no one has ever brought to the liturgy committee the observation that it is taking too long for distribution to get to the congregation and therefore that it has never been considered by anyone. It is difficult for me to observe in detail what is causing this as I am always supporting the communion song at this stage.

Having raised it members are now taking note and preparing to discuss it. In a similar way we have decided to look at silence during Mass, and having explored the relevant documents will be discussing this tomorrow for dissemination to all seven clergy by the weekend.

It is not ammunition I seek. We are not in such belligerent spaces here and this forum is very helpful, as is SC in providing responses for consideration.

PhloridaPhil
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Re: Reception by eucharistic ministers

Post by PhloridaPhil » Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:32 am

Keraulophon writes,

"Yet the newly published Parish Mass Books used in our parish (from McCrimmons) quote an official source to say that it is most appropriate for the ministers to go up to the altar as the Sign of Peace is being exchanged." (see above)

I wonder if there is confusion here about approaching the sanctuary rather than the altar? Detail is important as is scrutiny of 'official sources'.

Keraulophon
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Re: Reception by eucharistic ministers

Post by Keraulophon » Wed Jan 21, 2015 9:31 am

Apologies to Phlorida Phil for missing the earlier clarification about advice from local conferences of bishops regarding the time at which ministers approach. I now wonder, though, just what the originators of the instruction had in mind by "approach"? Was there a vision that the ministers would all be seated together somewhere, rather than in the midst of the assembly?

In my more attentive re-reading of the excerpts from GIRM that have been quoted here, I have not yet picked up any instruction about actually receiving Communion from a celebrant (whether under either form), just about they receiving "from the hands of the Priest Celebrant the vessel containing the species of the Most Holy Eucharist for distribution to the faithful". So the prohibition seems not to be about ministers distributing the Eucharist to other ministers (and altar servers) to save time, but about picking up the vessels from which the Eucharist is distributed to others.

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Re: Reception by eucharistic ministers

Post by Ephrem Feeley » Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:28 pm

The problem is that it seems to take so long before the congregation sees any distribution to them. There are eight Eucharistic ministers at each of seven masses and usually one priest and deacon and a few servers. GIRM insist that the Eucharistic ministers receive the vessels for distribution directly from the priest and this adds to the delay.

I can't recall any article that Chris Walker wrote, but I think this is the primary reason why he has set a number of choral communion antiphons, recently published by OCP. Their website states that they Engage your choir in singing these beautiful settings of the Roman Missal texts as the priest and Eucharistic ministers receive communion, before general distribution. Once the antiphon is finished, the communion hymn begins. I've only seen a few so far, but they seem pithy, very musical, and within the capabilities of a fairly good choir.
Although, another belief is that the communion hymn begins as soon as the priest receives communion. The extraordinary ministers of the eucharist are also part of the community who receive from the priest, and then delegated to assist in distribution.

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