Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Eucharistic Ministers: How Many is too Many?

Today I had the pleasure of reading an article on the UK Telegraph about the over-use of Eucharistic Ministers in their Catholic Churches… The army of distracting lay people who mob the altar during the Agnus Dei prayer has bothered me for a long time. As a Catholic we recognize that the climax of the mass is the Transubstantiation when the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ. So the reception of Jesus is to be a holy and meaning full event… while in many churches there are so many Eucharistic ministers that parishioners find themselves seeking the shortest line rather than meditating on the mystery of Christ in the Eucharist.
The reverence due to the Eucharist is something that cannot be ignored, and well meaning grandmas and sweatshirt wearing teens who want to feel included, while not needed, is not doing anyone a favor. In my home parish we witness the communion rush; people are in such a hurry to take their Jesus and go. I firmly hold that Eucharistic ministers add to this lack of reverence. Anything worth having is worth waiting for. In our instant gratification world it is difficult to think of communion as a means of worship rather than the fast food drive thru. The over-use of Eucharistic minister’s is clear when it is obvious that given a few extra moments the priest or an additional minister could amply suffice.
Catholic Femina Speaks… So my own reaction to the army of Eucharistic ministers is to walk respectfully and reverently to the priest or deacon for communion. I am not worried about hurting anyone’s feelings; I am just trying to live out my faith fully. I understand that in the case of large crowds ministers are needed and I respect that, but I have been to daily mass with twelve people and had three of them rise to be Eucharistic ministers. This is an abuse, and I hope by my cordially passing up the convenient minister for the duly ordained priest I may due reverence to the Blessed Sacrament and make less need for the unnecessary ministers.

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