On the Feast of Corpus Christi this past June, we marked the beginning of the second year of the National Eucharistic Revival. This year is the year of Parish Revival and helping parishioners to come to know Christ in the presence of the Eucharist. According to the National Eucharistic Revival website, we are striving “to renew the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.”
Every Sunday at Holy Mass, we are all called forward to receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Typically, Holy Communion is distributed by the ordained. However, if there is a need for more help, lay men and women may be invited to help in the distribution, as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. Marilyn Seiler, coordinator of the ministry here at St. Francis Xavier, emphasizes what an honor it is to help serve her parish community in this way.
“Distributing Holy Communion is not distributing a piece of bread,” Marilyn says. “Distributing Holy Communion is offering the presence of Christ to fellow parishioners, and it is the most important thing I do in my week. I see Christ in each person and call them ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ in my heart as I am offering them the Body of Christ. This is big stuff, important stuff, holy stuff.”
Some of the requirements to become an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion include being age 18 or older, being a fully initiated member of the Church, living a life that conforms with the teachings of the Church, publicly affirming the magisterium of the Church, being an active member of the parish, and living a life that reflects a devotion to Eucharist. There is an initial one-hour training session, as well as an annual session where members are trained on all the specifics of being an Extraordinary Minister. Here at St. Francis Xavier, an Extraordinary Minister is commissioned for three years, and may be recommissioned if the pastor sees fit.
“I enjoy being so close to Christ, and sharing my love of the Eucharist with others,” Marilyn says. “In the Gospel of Luke, in the story of Emmaus, we read that ‘weren’t our hearts burning within us and their hearts were opened in the breaking of the bread.’ We are literally distributing the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus, which allows hearts to be opened to the spreading of the Word of the Lord. This is the source and summit of evangelization.”
If you have questions or are interested in getting involved as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, contact Fr. O’Brien in the parish office at 405-372-6886.