Their numbers hit by pandemic, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion renew commitment to serve parishes

Fr Leonard E Dollentas

A group of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion from the different English-speaking communities of the Catholic Diocese of Macau renewed their commitment to serve in their respective parishes on June 12, 2022. As the pandemic situation has caused many establishments in Macau to cease operations, this has caused the economy to experience a downward trend. The Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion for the English-speaking communities, composed mainly of Filipino migrant workers, was also affected. Many of them lost their jobs and have had to go back to the Philippines. Hence, their numbers have dwindled in recent months.

Prior to their renewal of commitment, the group participated in the development training for their ministry. Several of them expressed sadness at no longer being able to enjoy the presence of their companions in the ministry, particularly those who have already left Macau for good. Despite these setbacks, they still showed enthusiasm to share their personal reflections on the questions prepared for them during the workshop. The atmosphere suddenly turned into a blissful mood as they opened their hearts to express their commitment to the “silent ministry” they contribute to the Church of Macau. The development training is not merely in the ‘practicalities’ of their ministry but is also aimed to develop a spirituality-centered and devoted understanding of the Eucharist in their daily lives.

They were reminded during the renewal of their commitment that in their service, as Ministers of Holy Communion, they should bring a strong faith, a sense of reverence for the Sacrament, and a committed desire to be of service to their brothers and sisters in their communities.

As they are decreasing in number, they were urged to invite other men in the community who are qualified and in good standing to join the ministry.  An Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion is a Baptised and Confirmed member of the parish who has been invited to offer this service of ministering the Body of Christ to his or her brothers and sisters in the parish community. Married ministers must have a sacramentally-valid marriage in the Catholic Church.  Like any baptised member of the Church, they are called to imitate the love of the Lord by their words and deeds; their ministry is for the good of others, enabling the worshipping community to receive the Lord’s Body and Blood in a reverent and worthy manner.

In the Catholic Diocese of Macau, the role of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion appears simple enough – to administer the Body and Blood of Christ to the assembled faithful during the Mass. On some occasions and with permission of the parish priest, they may bring the Eucharist to sick and/or housebound parishioners, who are unable to join the Sunday Mass. The Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are to deepen their own personal love of the Eucharist through frequent Confession, reflection, and prayer. They should learn to share the fruits of the grace they receive from their ministry by being more effective and zealous examples to their families and to others, thereby helping to build up the Body of Christ, which is the Church.

(Photo credit: Dominique Chua)