As Catholics, we recognize the Eucharist as the “source and summit” of our faith — that the Eucharist is the true Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. In turn, an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion (EMHC) is a lay person who has been trained to help distribute the Eucharist during Mass.
Greg McElhaney is an EMHC at St. John. He was raised Catholic, but around the age of 20, he quit attending Church. Yet, it was the Eucharist that brought him back to the Catholic faith, and serving as an EMHC has helped him grow even more.
“After I quit attending Church, I wasn’t really doing anything,” Greg says. “But then I read some books about the end times and stuff like that, and I began attending a Pentecostal Evangelical church. I got very involved, even becoming a deacon in that church. Along the way, someone introduced me to some writing from the early Church Fathers, and the more I read them, the more I realized that they were describing the Catholic faith. It was what I learned about the Eucharist from these writings that brought me back to the Catholic Church. The Eucharist is why I am here, and as an EMHC I get the honor of sharing the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ with my fellow parishioners.”
At St. John, EMHCs gather once a year for training and a chance to ask questions.
“If you are seriously interested in becoming an Extraordinary Minister, you will have questions,” Greg says. “It is a big deal to stand up and offer fellow parishioners the Eucharist, and there are so many small things that matter when we are talking about the True Presence of Christ — like, what do you do if you drop the host, or what if someone walks off without consuming the host? Father takes the time to answer these questions to make sure that we are all prepared for this role.”
The major requirement for being an EMHC is to believe in the True Presence of the Eucharist and to demonstrate that belief through dedication and reverence. Once trained, EMHCs are placed on a rotation to help during Communion.
“Someone came and asked me if I would be willing to help,” Greg says. “I thought to myself that I am not worthy to do that, to give the Eucharist to other people. But then I realized that I am not worthy to even walk into the building. If you had to be worthy to do it, nobody would be able to. It is a gift, and an honor to be an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.”
If you are interested in serving as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, contact the parish office at 815-498-2010.