Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Getting Rid of Extraordinary Ministers

Fr. Rick Heilman writes,
H/T: Fr. Z
This past weekend I made one of those decisions in my two parishes that was very difficult, only in the sense that my own silly pride seems forever inclined to seek the approval of others. It was one of those decisions that I could’ve waited on … to see if many other parishes were doing this first, but that stupid “integrity” thing wouldn’t let me wait for that.
This weekend we made the move to refrain from the use of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.  Thanks to this internet age in  which we live, the appropriate teaching on this was hard to escape. Up to now, I hid behind my “ignorance”, but once I received the truth, the culpability of my dissent became more grave. I could no longer cower behind my lack of knowledge. My conscience got the better of me as I realized my dissent would now be direct. 
In my larger parish, with the church about 90-95% full, it took only 8 minutes 45 seconds for me to give everyone Communion (also, like the Holy Father, I place a kneeler in front of me to give our people the option of kneeling or standing). There just isn’t a case for “unduly prolonged” Communion.
Oh, how I wanted to hang out in my ignorance.  Besides, look what happened to some of the priests who did this? (here) … I mean c’mon … national news? But, they inspired me to be join our Holy Father’s vanguard in reeling in some of the abuses which have crept into the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Of course, I spent the weekend giving our people the teaching (with love) on this, and the response (so far) has been anything from, “Thank you, SO MUCH, father … we have been waiting for years for this” to “I’m leaving the parish.”
There are wonderful teachings out there in “Google Land,” but this one cuts to the chase pretty well (here).
I’ll humbly take your prayers that I remain strong and full of God’s love and patience as I move from the easy “wait and see” position to the bloody front lines on this issue.
God bless Fr. Heilman!  It's too bad that his actions are a strange exception to the general rule.


  1. St. Mary's in E DBQ pretty much never uses EMs during the week. If there are 2 people distributing Communion 1 is the priest the other is 1 of the deacons.
    Sundays is a little different. They have an EM at the Masses without the deacon. But when the deacon is there he distributes, not an EM.
    Personally, I think most parishes could completely do without EMs during the week. Sundays, depends on the parish, but even then they could cut back.
    Bluntly in most parishes the EM has become more of a reward for people rather than because they see it as a "ministry". That & for many priests it makes their job easier. & yes, I use the word job intentionally. Sadly, arround here way to many priests don't see what they are doing as anything more than a job.