Waiting on Jesus

Waiting on Jesus

Kelly Clark examines the phenomenon that people are apparently willing to wait for all kinds of things for inordinate amounts of time, but they are unwilling to wait for Jesus in the Eucharist at Mass. And thus the custom of Extraordinary Ministers was born.

I was once asked to become a “Eucharistic” Minister, but begged off. (I’m already a lector in my parish.) I just don’t feel right about doing it. For one thing, it’s one of the most important duties in the world, bringing the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus to others. and I wouldn’t be able to help being disturbed as I distributed Communion to the obviously, bored, impatient, or disbelieving people approaching me. I know—I’m being judgental and I should get over it. Unfortunately, I can’t (or won’t) and so I don’t. Besides, think of the awesome responsibility of carrying the Eucharist to others. I would tremble at it. I already tremble a bit at receiving the Eucharist myself.

So I leave the extraordinary minister to others and think, like Kelly, that perhaps we’d be better off without that particular lay ministry and we just learned to be more patient as we wait for Jesus.

  • Well, the highest honor available to a laywoman who is not a queen, head of state, or diplomat is the Order of St. Gregory the Great. Of course, once you are given the award, you will be in the company of, among others, Rupert Murdoch and his wife.

  • I’ll agree that EEMs aren’t going away. They’re too ingrained in the culture. But Todd if most people in your parish are “striving” to receive Communion, then I want to know where that is. From what I see, most people are striving to get out of the church in under an hour, especially when you see the way they bolt out straight from receiving Communion

    Fr. Michael, if you have 800 people at Mass then I’m impressed. You must have a large, growing parish. Here in the Boston archdiocese where Kelly is (at the cathedral) and I am, most Masses are more sparsely attended. When you have 200 people and 2 priests and the Precious Blood is distributed at only one Mass, then the need becomes somewhat less.

    I wish more priests helped people focus on reverence toward the Eucharist. If more people truly believed in the awesome grace of the Blessed Sacrament, I wouldn’t care if we had a hundred EEMs because reverence and worship is the most important thing. I don’t have a problem with the ministry per se; it’s just not my thing.

    It’s just that when you see abuses of the ministry and unbelief as Kelly points out, it makes you sad.

  • I’m glad you like my writing, folks, whether you agree with me or not. But please…no awards!

    I’d much rather have your prayers, because I do need them.

    Dom correctly points out that attendance at “Catholic Boston’s” Catholic churches is sparse. According to the Archdiocese (and the Boston Globe, for that matter) less than 4 out of 10 Boston area Catholics attend Sunday Mass. The Cathedral, which can hold a couple o’ thousand, counts maybe a couple o’ hundred on Sundays.

    And still, we use extraordinary ministers, for the Precious Blood.

    And, despite my remarks?

    I’m very often one of them.

    A charge of hypocrisy would not be out of order against me. My only defense—and it’s a weak one, probably—I can and do keep the other abuses at bay.

    I love my parish. I have maintained for years that extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist in our particular situation are simply not necessary. In fact, not a good idea at all, and totally contrary to the norms set forth by Rome.

    Everybody in my parish (including our Apostolic Administrator, our Archbishop Emeritus, and our parish priests) knows where I stand.

    And yet, too often, at Communion time, I stand with my unconsecrated hands, holding the Precious Blood of Christ.

    They—the bishop, his secretaries, the parish priests—probably choose me because I’m such a nag on the subject.

    So. No kudos for Kelly on this one, friends. Prayers, on the other hand, are gratefully accepted!

    Because, like Joe, my eyes are often filled with tears…his being for a far more noble reason than my own.

    I apologize for taking up so much room with this post. May God love you all, and have mercy on me.