Thursday, May 8, 2014

62. I've Had it with EMHCs

I've had it. Simply stated, I'm done putting up with them. 

I'm sick of them dropping or spilling Jesus and not picking Him up. 

I'm sick of them walking around with the Ciborium like it's a plate of BBQ, and not like it contains GOD.

I'm sick of them not purifying their hands properly after distributing Communion.

Actually, I'm sick of them TOUCHING JESUS.

I'm sick of them not being catechized about what, or rather, WHO, It is they're distributing.

I'm sick of them being overly happy and cheerful, giving Jesus to people by name (Oh, hi Jim! Good to see ya! ... The Body of Christ.).

I'm sick of the army of EMHCs that swarms the altar at Chrism Mass when there is a whole SECTION of the Church full of Ordinaries.

I'm sick of the army of EMHCs that swarms the altar even when there's only one priest.

I'm sick of their demeanor. 

I'm sick of how many there are and how frequently they're used and how infrequently they seem to give a care that they're touching and cheerfully spilling everywhere the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

*stamps feet* I'm sick of them!!!

(The reason I decided to let it rip today:)
There's this one EMHC who also is an altar server at the church that I (unfortunately) go to for Tuesday and Thursday noon Mass. I go there twice each week and I have NEVER ever seen him genuflect. EVER. I've never seen him bow to the altar or show any form of acknowledgement or respect to Jesus whatsoever. He walks around like he owns the place, and goes right up to the Tabernacle and opens it up like a kitchen cupboard and pulls out the ciborium with Jesus in it, and walks around with Him in his hand like it's just another plate! 

Talk about poorly catechized! 

I can hear you now... 

"Aw, SSWW, don't be so harsh on them! They're just people who want to be active in the celebration of the Church and want to help the priest! Give them a break! They just want to love the Lord and share the Eucharistic meal with their friends and family!" 

I used to be an Extraordinary Minister!

Let that sink in.


If you haven't noticed (all you long-time readers), my spirituality and knowledge of the Faith and Liturgy have gradually evolved. When I returned to the Faith, I had all of 0 knowledge about anything, and my understanding of a lot of things was clouded. BUT the one thing I knew with certainty was that Jesus was truly present in the Eucharist! What a gift it was, looking back, to have at least known that! For Canon 897 says that the Eucharist is the SUMMIT and SOURCE of our faith! I might not have understood the whole Liturgy thing, but I at least had the Real Presence down pat! ... Get that. LOL

Anywho, I wanted to serve the Lord! I wanted to be close to Him, and I thought that someone such as myself, who is knowledgeable about the fact that Jesus is in the Eucharist, should be handling Him rather than others who weren't so convicted. So I, at the tender age of 17, was "instituted" as an Extraordinary Minister at the church (The "training" for which took all of 3 minutes...)! I loved "serving" Jesus in that way; I thought I was helping Him! (I was also under the impression that my title was a "Eucharistic Minister." Oy vey.)
Can we just address something? I was 17. They let a 17 year old distribute Communion with hardly any training! Granted, I was a 17 year old who went to 7:30am daily Mass. BUT still! The vast majority of 17 year olds DON'T UNDERSTAND the Real Presence! And they let me do this with no problem! Father didn't talk to be about it; he didn't check to see if I was even halfway sane. I just asked someone about it and they "trained" me, and I was put on the schedule.

Shortly after I began receiving Jesus on the tongue, I started to have a few issues with the whole thing. If I receive Him on the tongue in order to avoid touching Him, but yet still touch Him when I distribute, aren't I defeating the point? I would try to position myself just right in the "line" so that I would get the Chalice rather than the ciborium. That way, I wouldn't have to touch Him. But still, I was always afraid that I would get the contents of the Chalice on my hands from wiping the Chalice, so I was still anxious about it. 

Finally, I decided that I had had enough. I stopped going to that parish altogether (following an encounter with the priest about my new posture to receive - kneeling!), and began attending a FAR more reverent Novus Ordo (This was months before I discovered the TLM) where EMHCs are only used to distribute the contents of the Chalice... When my spiritual director (my pastor) asked me if I would be interested in being an Extraordinary Minister, I declined the offer in a heartbeat.

 I truly believe that, as a woman, I have NO place near the altar or in the sanctuary. I also firmly believe that as a lay person in general, I have NO place distributing Our Lord or aiding the overall disrespect of the Eucharist that I'm seeing. 
Share this post if automatically your brain told you the sentence said "I have Novus Ordo place near..." #CatholicProblems

"Aiding the disresepct of the Eucharist? Whaddaya mean?!" 

You mean to tell me that seeing lay people handle the Eucharist doesn't send the message that it's nothing special?! Please. If it WAS the Body and Blood and Soul and Divinity of GOD, only the ordained priest would handle It. And with fear and reverence even then! Here these EMHCs (lay people) are, acting like it's no biggie. 

You tell 'em, Arinze!

Bring out the big-guns...

Redemptionis Sacramentum 151 states, "Only out of true necessity [maybe World Youth Day would count. But unless your parish has 2,000,000 people at daily Mass, I don't think this counts.] is there to be recourse to the assistance of extraordinary ministers in the celebration of the Liturgy. Such recourse is not intended for the sake of a fuller participation of the laity but rather, by its very nature, is supplementary and provisional. Furthermore, when recourse is had out of necessity to the functions of extraordinary ministers, special urgent prayers of intercession should be multiplied that the Lord may soon send a Priest for the service of the community and raise up an abundance of vocations to sacred Orders [When do you ever hear someone say, "Right now we have a need for EMHCs. Let us pray fervently that we get more priests"? I've never heard that.]." 

Let me draw your attention to a quote from now SAINT John Paul II:

"Full participation certainly means that every member of the community has a part to play in the liturgy [AKA praying][but it] does not mean that everyone does everything, since this would lead to a clericalizing of the laity and a laicizing of the clergy; and this was not what the Council had in mind." (Ad limina discourse) 

"Although it is appropriate that he [the priest] should be assisted in the effective preparation of the liturgical celebrations by various members of Christ’s faithful [perhaps he's referring to sacristans and acolytes]he nevertheless must not cede to them in any way those things that are proper to his own office." (Redemptionis Sacramentum 32)

Fr. Z: "A priest’s hands are consecrated to handle sacred things, and the most sacred of all is the Most Holy Eucharist... I think that we should not blur the roles of priests and lay people."

"...and there is a very large number of communicants [AKA, not the 20 people at Daily Mass. There's no need for 3 or 4 EMHCs at daily Mass.], the priest may call upon extraordinary ministers to assist him... These ministers should not approach the altar before the priest has received Communion... " (GIRM 162) I've seen EMHCs receive the Eucharist before the Priest Celebrant has even said the "Behold the Lamb of God..." 

What's a halfway charitable way to give an EMHC what-for? Anyone have any suggestions?
... Yes I'll be sitting down to talk with the pastor soon. Or maybe I'll just forward him this post :P

What does EMHC stand for?
Every Minion Has a Chalice
Every Minion Handles Christ.
... Don't tell anyone I said that.

Want to see where I got some of these quotes from?
Redemptionis Sacramentum

St. JPII's quote
This is also a nice article.

Have a great day, God bless, and DON'T be an EMHC!



I had to include this quote that I found today. Sorry it's late:

“. . . out of reverence towards this Sacrament, nothing touches it, but what is consecrated; hence the corporal and the chalice are consecrated, and likewise the priest's hands, for touching this Sacrament. Hence, it is not lawful for anyone else to touch it except from necessity, for instance, if it were to fall upon the ground, or else in some other case of urgency” (Summa Theologiae, III, 82, 3).

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