Home > Administration, Vatican II / Fr. Nowak Years (1962-1969) > Extraordinary Mininsters of Holy Communion

Extraordinary Mininsters of Holy Communion


1969-1973? (researching exact date)

The Second Vatican Council opened up the ministry of distributing Communion. In 1969, the Vatican announced several reasons for expanding communion ministry to the laity:

1. Outside the Mass, people needed access to Holy Communion when an ordinary minister was not available.
2. The usual minister was sometimes impeded by poor health, advanced age, or the demands of the pastoral ministry.
3. Sometimes the number of faithful wishing to receive Holy Communion at Mass was so great that the celebration was taking too long.

At first the change was difficult for many parishioners of St. Anthony. For centuries, only a priest could touch the Eucharist and the sacred vessels with his hands. All communicants received the body of Christ directly on the tongue. People had a deep respect for Holy Communion and for the priest.

Therefore, the first extraordinary ministers had to especially be men and women of proven character (which is still true today), but also of great courage. Some of them endured the disapproval and anger of their fellow parishioners. But they forged ahead in a ministry that today is overwhelmingly accepted.

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