Thank you for your assistance in administering the Eucharist to the congregation at Mass. Several more parishioners have been recruited in recent months so as to involve as many parishioners as possible in this very sacred ministry.
It sometimes appears that the Rota system is not functioning as intended. It would be helpful if the following suggestions were put into operation:
The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures as she venerated the Body of the Lord, in so far as she never ceases, particularly in the sacred liturgy, to partake of the bread of life and to offer it to the faithful from the one table of the Word of God and the Body of Christ. Christ is always present in His Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations… He is present in His word, since it is He Himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in the Church. The Church has always regarded the Scriptures, together with Tradition, as the supreme rule of her faith. Inspired by God both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition present God’s very word, and is a single sacred deposit of the word of God which is entrusted to the Church. By adhering to it the entire holy people, united to its pastors, remains always faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the community of faith, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. The ministry of the word of God is exercised in a variety of forms, for example in the liturgy and in catechesis. It is exercised by a variety of ministers. Within a Diocese this ministry is primarily the responsibility of the Bishop, and is exercised in collaboration with his priests, deacons, catechists.
The Church is built up and grows when she gathers to listen to God’s word. In the liturgical celebration God’s many wonderful, past works in the history of salvation are symbolically presented anew. God in turn makes use of the assembly of the faithful who celebrate the liturgy in order that his word may speed on in triumph and his name be exalted among all peoples. The Unity of Word and Sacrament It is from the scriptures that the prayers and songs of the Liturgy draw their inspiration and their force, and that the actions and signs of the Liturgy derive their meaning. The revision of the Liturgy required by the 2nd Vatican Council has ensured that the intimate connection between the liturgical rites and the scriptures has been made more apparent. In all the rites of the Church there is now a more ample, varied and suitable provision of scripture. This is most obvious in the case of the celebrations of the sacraments, where each celebration includes a Liturgy of the Word, the two realities so closely connected as to form one act of worship.
In the Liturgy of the Word God himself speaks with his people, opening up to them the mystery of redemption and salvation, and nourishing their spirit. Christ himself is present in the midst of the faithful through his word. Thus at Mass, in the word of God the divine covenant is announced; and in the Eucharist the new and everlasting covenant is embodied and renewed. By hearing the word proclaimed in worship, the faithful again enter into the unending dialogue between God and his chosen people, a dialogue sealed in the sharing of the Eucharistic food. The meaning of communion is proclaimed in the word; the message of Scripture is made actual once again in the communion banquet. The proclamation of the word is thus integral to the Mass and at its very heart.
The Liturgy of the Word
The readings from Sacred Scripture and the chants between the readings (Psalm and Gospel acclamation) form the main part of the Liturgy of the Word. The homily, Profession of Faith, and Prayer of the Faithful (general intercessions) expand and complete this part of the Mass. In the readings God speaks with his people, opening up to them the mystery of redemption and salvation, and nourishing their spirit; Christ himself is present in the midst of the faithful through his word. By their silent listening and pondering, and by their singing and acclamation, the people make God’s word their own, and begin to respond to it in their hearts. The homily is an integral part of the liturgy to assist the assembly to hear the voice of the Lord in his word.
Finally, having been nourished by this word, the assembly affirms its acceptance of it by the profession of faith and makes petition in the Prayer of the Faithful (general intercessions), praying for the needs of the entire Church and for the salvation of the whole world. The Lectionary for Mass, revised at the direction of the Second Vatican Council, has opened up the treasures of the Bible, so that richer fare might be provided for the faithful at the table of God’s word. The Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass speaks extensively of the place of the word of God in the plan of salvation and in the life of the Church. All who share in the ministry of the word will want to study this Introduction and take its teaching to heart. The richness in the quantity and in the variety of readings in the Lectionary challenges those who are called upon to proclaim the Scriptures at Mass. Each of the individual sacred authors reflected on the meaning of God’s action in history from their own perspective. They employed various literary forms to convey the message of salvation, ranging, for example, from narratives and the poetry of the psalms to prophetic oracles and parables, from theological expositions to apocalyptic visions. A reader will proclaim the word of the Lord more fully and effectively if he or she has an awareness of the literary form of a particular reading or psalm.
As we receive from this altar the sacred Body and Blood of your Son, let us be filled with every grace and blessing.
Eucharistic Prayer I
The Eucharist is the vital centre of all that the Church is and does. At its heart is the real presence of the crucified, risen and glorified Lord, who continues his saving work among us. The Second Vatican Council reminded us: ‘the most holy Eucharist holds within itself the whole spiritual treasure of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Passover and our living bread’. (cf. One Bread One Body 3) All who exercise a liturgical ministry need a proper preparation for their responsibilities. They are to have the competence to perform the particular ministry with which they have been entrusted. (cf. Celebrating the Mass 29)
What the Church says about…
The ministry of Holy Communion
“Since the Eucharistic Celebration is the Paschal Banquet, it is desirable that the faithful who are properly disposed receive the Lord’s Body and Blood as spiritual food as he commanded.” Bishops, priests and deacons are the ordinary ministers of Communion. If a large number are to receive Communion, the ordinary ministers will frequently need assistance in distributing Communion, so that the Communion rite is not unduly long. It will regularly be needed when Communion is given under both kinds, the form of Communion in which the Eucharistic banquet is more clearly signified. This assistance is given by extraordinary ministers, be these instituted acolytes or commissioned ministers of Communion, formally commissioned for a given period or, in case of necessity, deputed by the priest celebrant for a particular occasion. These various ministers serve Christ present in the assembly by ministering his Body and Blood to their brothers and sisters. They also serve the unity of the worshipping community by taking Communion to those members who are prevented by sickness, old age, or other cause from taking part in the gathering for Mass. In accord with an ancient tradition, it is appropriate for Communion to be taken directly from the Sunday Eucharist to the sick and to those unable to leave their homes.
Communion under both kinds
Holy Communion has a fuller form as a sign when it is distributed under both kinds. For in this form the sign of the Eucharistic banquet is more clearly evident and clear expression is given to the divine will by which the new and eternal Covenant is ratified in the Blood of the Lord, as also the relationship between the Eucharistic banquet and the eschatological banquet in the Father’s Kingdom.
General Instruction of the Roman Missal 281
In preparing yourself for service as a Minister of Holy Communion
Christ is present in his Church as it performs works of mercy, not only because we do to Christ whatever good we do to one of the least of his brothers and sisters but also because it is Christ, performing these works through the Church, who continually assists by his divine charity.
Paul VI Mysterium Fidei 35
Lord Jesus Christ, we worship you living among us in the sacrament of your body and blood. May we offer to our Father in heaven a solemn pledge of undivided love. May we offer to our brothers and sisters a life poured out in loving service of that Kingdom where you live with the Father and Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Collect for Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ