“We easily think of the consecrated bread and wine of the Eucharist as something holy, as something filled with God’s life – and rightly so. The Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Yet, in the Eucharist, God the Father likes to start with something that comes from us – with something human.
“[In the same way, during our Eucharistic celebration], God the Father starts with the human – the bread and wine on the altar, and the bread and wine of our human lives – and brings out the beyond-the-human, the divine, in them. Bread and wine, the work of human hands, become the Body and Blood of Christ. But the change doesn’t end there: by sharing in the Body and Blood of Christ, we become what we receive! St. Augustine, the fifth-century bishop of Hippo in North Africa, preached about this marvel often, and had a yearly opportunity to explain it to those newly baptized at Easter: ‘ Because He [the Lord] suffered for us, He left us in this Sacrament His Body and Blood, which He made even as He made us, also. For we have become His Body, and through His mercy we are what we receive.’ To become a member of the Body of Christ through baptism is to take one’s place in the intimate circle of God’s worshippers.
“[Like so many saints,] St. Augustine believed that our sharing in the Eucharist changes us. Augustine repeated this belief often lest his congregation forget that their sharing in the Body of Christ really formed them into the Body of Christ. ‘Behold what you have received!’ he told them. ‘Therefore, just as you see that the bread which was made is one mass, so may you also be one Body by loving one another, by having one faith, one hope, and an undivided charity.’ Such is the great dignity and responsibility of us who share in the Body and Blood of Christ: our lives are to affirm that the Body of Christ is one in faith, hope, and love, even though it has many members. And just in case there might be some people in Augustine’s congregation who still hadn’t got the point, he made a declaration that may startle us by its simple truthfulness: ‘There you are on the table, and there you are in the chalice.’
“For extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, there is another dignity and responsibility: you must become what you give. You must become and live as the Body of Christ that you give to your brothers and sisters. In you, as in the bread and wine of the Eucharist, God the Father starts with the human and brings out the beyond-the-human.
“Your service as ministers inside the liturgy should only make visible the faith and love you are seen to manifest outside the liturgy. Generous self-giving, conformed to the pattern of Christ’s self-giving unto death, must mark both your interior and exterior life, both inside and outside the liturgy.
“Your life as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion must be one of both being and giving the Body of Christ. Let your ‘Amen’ to that life of service be real and complete. Then you will find great joy in the Lord who chooses to be present in you, in those you serve, and in the Eucharist that forms you into his Body.”
-Fr. Michael Kwatera, O.S.B.
Fr. Michael Kwatera, O.S.B., Ph.D., a monk of Saint John’s Abbey, Collegeville, MN, has been a teacher of liturgy on the undergraduate and graduate levels and a practitioner of liturgy in parishes and religious communities. He has authored numerous articles and several prayer books. Besides teaching, he conducts workshops on liturgical ministries.
This ministry is open to all fully initiated parishioners. Training and on going formation is provided. If you are interested in this ministry, leave a reply below. We would love to hear from you!
“’People read to know they’re not alone.’
“The word of God proclaimed when the community of believers gathers to worship brings this thought to fulfillment in a most profound way. When the word of God is read, we come to know we are not alone. The word of God mediates presence, human and divine. It acts to bring its hearers into communion, linking all who listen at this moment with one another, with those known and unknown authors whose words continue to be read aloud year after year, and with all those who form that great throng of believers who over countless generations have heard these words in their own day and have been nourished and sustained by them. But, most of all, these words entrusted now to us, bind us anew to the One who is the origin of these words, who has spoken ‘in times past in partial and various ways,’ but who in the fullness of time spoke to us through the Son ‘whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe, who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word’ (Heb 1:1-3). When we hear God’s word and accept it in faith, truly we are not alone.
“As lectors, then, we are given the improbable task of expressing the inexpressible: God’s unfathomable and ongoing love for all creation, God’s ongoing plan of redemption and salvation for all the world, God’s ongoing work of sanctifying all who have been made in the divine image. From the beginning God has called others to help bring this work to completion, and God continues to enlist the efforts of all the children of the various faith traditions, but especially those who have been adopted as sons and daughters through water and the Spirit, and who gather to break the bread and share the cup of the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ. In order for this great act of worship to be done with faith, women and men are appointed to this ministry of lector, joining that long line of prophets – Moses and Miram, Isaiah and Hulda, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Anna and Simeon, Mary of Nazareth, Peter and Paul, the beloved disciple and Mary Magdalene – through whom the word of the Lord has been spoken to the people of God chose as peculiarly God’s own. The fulfillment of this ministry currently rests with us. And so, my friends: ‘Let the word of God dwell in you richly . . .’ (Col 3:16).”
-Fr. James A. Wallace, C.Ss.R.
James A. Wallace, C.Ss.R., Ph.D., is professor of homiletics at Washington Theological Union and co-editor of “New Theology Review.”
Training and on going formation is provided for this ministry. If you are interested in this ministry, leave a reply below. We would love to hear from you!
Young people (third grade through high school) wishing to work as servers must be willing to give of themselves in service to the Church. A seasonal sacrifice of time for training in liturgical rites and duties is necessary in addition to regular sacrifices of time by arriving early to prepare for Mass and by not leaving after Mass until all assigned duties are fulfilled. During the Mass, the server assists the priest by holding the Sacrament so the Church can pray in unison; by helping prepare the altar for Christ’s Body and Blood that the Church might partake in Him in unity; and by assisting the priest to conclude our liturgy as he cleanses the sacred vessels and clears the altar so that he might send us forth in unity to serve Christ. Servers should be seen singing, listening, and keeping good silence. They are to model the activity of the assembly. Assist at the altar during all weekend, Holy Day and Funeral Masses. Students in third grade and higher are invited to serve in this ministry. This ministry is also open to adults.
Training and on going formation is provided. For information, please contact the church office at 525-