UPDATED: MJD Guidelines for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC) | Bishop’s Circular No: BP/2021/057

21st May 2021

To All Clergy and Lay Faithful of the Malacca Johore Diocese.

UPDATED: MJD Guidelines for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC)

The ministry of distributing Holy Communion is the responsibility of priests and deacons. It is understood
that at regularly scheduled parish Masses, concelebrating priests and the deacons present and assisting at
that Mass (unless impeded by physical reasons or other sufficient cause) will participate in the distribution
of Holy Communion.

If these ordinary ministers are not sufficient to distribute the Sacrament within a reasonable amount of
time, then extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC) may be invited to assist them.

Canon 910.2: The extraordinary minister of Holy Communion is an acolyte or other member of the
Christian faithful deputed in accord with Canon 230.3.
Canon 230.3: When the need of the Church warrants it and ministers are lacking, lay persons, even if
they are not lectors or acolytes, can also supply certain of their duties, namely, to exercise
the ministry of the word, to preside over liturgical prayers, to confer baptism, and to
distribute Holy Communion in accord with the prescripts of the law.

The following policies are to be followed in the Malacca Johore Diocese (MJD) in regard to these EMHC in
parish celebrations. In instances other than parochial settings, the Diocesan Liturgical Commission will be

  1. For the MJD, only adults, 30 years and above, single or married, male or female, all language groups,
    can serve as EMHCs. EM HCs of a parish must represent a good cross-section of the parish community.
  2. The general qualifications of EMHC are that:
    1. they are nominated by the BECs; prepared to serve without imposing any conditions;
    2. they should manifest a devotion to the Eucharist in both their public and private lives of prayer;
    3. they manifest a sense of presence and self-confidence in their liturgical decorum and in their
      relationships with others;
    4. they be exemplary in their living out the Christian life, faith and morals;
    5. they be aware of and responsive to the Church’s view of the importance of lay ministries;
    6. they be in good standing with the local Church community;
    7. they be fully initiated into the Catholic Church (i.e., have received the sacraments of Baptism,
      Eucharist, and Confirmation).
  3. Liturgical ministers should serve in one capacity only (i.e. as EMHC Q readers Q ministers of
    hospitality, etc.).
    All, therefore, whether ordained ministers or lay Christian faithful, in fulfilling their function or their duty, should carry out solely but totally that which pertains to them. GIRM. 91
  4. Those serving as EMHC must be suitably prepared for their ministry. The training of EMHC is coordinated through the Diocesan Liturgical Commission and is to be completed before candidates begin to minister in the liturgy or bring Communion to the sick.
  5. The term for designation as EMHC in MJD is two (2) years; renewable upon requests of the Parish Priest (cf., Canon 230.2), up to a maximum of three (Q) terms only.
  6. Designation for service as an EMHC is valid only within the parish of appointment.
  7. After being trained and designated, EMHCs are to be commissioned by the parish priest for service in the parish. This commissioning is done at one of the parish’s regularly scheduled Sunday liturgies. (See Book of Blessings, Chapter 63, ”Order for the Commissioning of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion ”.)
    They commit to be:
    i. assisting ministers at masses;
    ii. ministers for services in the absence of priests (as directed by the Parish Priests);
    iii. ministers to homebound, the sick and those in hospitals;
    iv. funeral ministers.
  8. Desired attire: no special dressing; provided sash; neat “Sunday best” for men; for women, pants or maxi skirts and proper blouse.

Recommended Steps:

  1. Names nominated from BECs; nominated by their BECs.
  2. Interviewed and screened by the Parish Priest or Assistant Parish Priests or Special EMHC Committee.
  3. Informed of the Roles and Responsibilities; the conditions and demands on them.
  4. a) Shortlisted and approved candidates to undergo training and recollection on the ”Call and Ministry of EMHC”.
    b) The banns are published with photos; announced at masses.
  5. Thereafter to complete the Checklist of Requirements (as per attached) and submit it with the application for certification to the Bishop’s Office.
  6. Commissioning of EMHCs, irrespective English, Chinese, Tamil or BM-Speaking, together in one Mass.

Encls Checklist of Requirements

Together Building His Kingdom

+ Rt. Rev. Bernard Paul, D.D.
Bishop of Malacca Johore Diocese

[Note: This circular is an update of Bishop’s Circular No: BP/2019/030 dated 14th February 2019.]