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Ministering the Eucharist at Mass

  1. At regular intervals a rota of Readers, Eucharist Ministers, Counters, Welcomers is published. When this occurs, notification will be made in the newsletter. Please make sure you take one of these rotas and check which Sundays you are being called on to Minister.

    Take note of the Sundays you are on duty and, should you be unavailable on any particular Sunday, please make sure you have a replacement. Each Minister will receive a list, and telephone numbers, of those who minister at the Mass you do. Please contact one of them, well in advance, asking if they can supply for you. In the extreme event that you are unable to find someone who is able to replace you on a particular Sunday, please contact Patricia Skuse, our parish secretary, or Fr. Michael.

  2. At the beginning of the second prayer after the Our Father i.e. "Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your Apostles..." leave your seat and come to the front centre of the main aisle. Wait till your fellow-minister arrives and then, together, genuflect.

    The Catholic tradition is genuflection before the Blessed Sacrament. Naturally if age or debility prevents this a bow must suffice. Please note that this is not a military flick of the neck but is described "as a bow of the body" i.e. from the waist. The Roman Missal is quite clear that genuflection is the normal and appropriate gesture: "If there is a tabernacle with the Blessed Sacrament in the Sanctuary, a genuflection is made before and after Mass and whenever passing in front of the Sacrament". Bowing at the Altar is usually where the Blessed Sacrament is kept in a separate chapel and not in the Sanctuary. (2:3-4) This is obviously not the case in Leatherhead. Clearly bowing is a poor substitute.

    Ministers of the Eucharist are particularly charged with guarding the reverence due to the Blessed Sacrament and should be exemplary in this. Every effort should be made to genuflect and honour the sacramental presence amongst us of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Step up onto the altar and go to the left side (left as seen from the church) and remain standing, facing the altar. Bow deeply as the priest genuflects (or you may prefer to kneel down). Receive the host from the priest, who will then give communion to the Mass servers, should there be any. The priest will then give each of you the chalice and return to the altar centre. You will then give communion from the chalice to the Mass servers. Proceed to your station. If you are administering from the right hand side of the altar (right as seen from the Church) pass in front of the altar and take up your station.

  3. It may be that there is an elderly person in the front seat who will receive the Eucharist in their place. In this case follow the priest to the person so that they may receive the chalice also.

  4. To administer Holy Communion from the chalice hold it by the stem and base in both hands. Offer it to the communicant who should receive it with both hands, one on the base and one on the cup. Receive it back in the same manner, i.e. with both hands. Then wipe the outside and rim of the cup with the purificator. The inside rim of the cup should not be wiped. The purificator should not end up saturated with the Blessed Sacrament. Turn the cup slightly, and offer to the next communicant.

    Don't feel obliged to use the same spot on the purificator to clean the chalice.

  5. Remain at your station until the last communicant has passed by and returned to their seat.

  6. If you are returning your chalice to the altar, place the chalice on the corporal (square white cloth in the centre of the altar) and not just anywhere on the altar.

  7. Return back down the steps and remain standing until your fellow minister joins you. Both return to the front centre of main aisle, genuflect and return to your seats.

  8. If you are to purify your chalice then proceed directly to the credence table (small table at the back of the left hand side of the sanctuary) and purify the chalice.

  9. The chalice is purified by, first of all, consuming any remaining precious blood. This should be done discretely and not 'swilled'. Water, not a great amount, is poured into the chalice, swirled round to absorb any remaining precious blood, and then drunk. The chalice is then cleaned thoroughly with a purificator. (Please be careful not to scratch the inside of the chalice with finger nails or rings). Place the purificator over the chalice and then the pall (the stiff white linen board).

Administering from the Tabernacle:
  1. Should you have to approach the tabernacle to bring a ciborium to the altar it is done in this way:
    Unlock one door, genuflect, and take out the ciborium, remove the cover and lid leaving them on the pedestal of the tabernacle, take it to the altar and place it on the corporal.

  2. To return the ciborium to the tabernacle:
    In front of the tabernacle replace the lid and cover, place the ciborium in the tabernacle, close one of the doors, genuflect, and then lock the door. Place the key on the altar near the corporal so that the priest can place it on top of the chalice veil when he covers the chalice.

Suggested Reading for Eucharistic Ministers:

Catechism of the Catholic Church: Part Two: Nos: 1066 - 1209 & Nos: 1322 - 1419.

Scripture: