“Then he took a cup, gave thanks,and gave it to them, saying,

“Drink from it, all of you,for this is my blood of the covenant,

which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.”

– Matthew 26:27-28


An Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion (EMHC) in the Catholic Church is an “acolyte”, or another of Christ’s faithful, deputed in certain circumstances to distribute Holy Communion. The term “extraordinary” distinguishes such a person from the ordinary (normal, regular) minister of of Holy communion, namely ordained clergy.

In every celebration of the Eucharist, there should be a sufficient number of ministers of Holy Communion, so that it can be distributed in an orderly and reverent manner. Canon law permits that “where the needs of the Church require and ministers are not available, lay people may exercise the ministry of the word, preside over liturgical prayers, confer baptism and distribute Holy Communion, in accordance with the provisions of the law.” The term “lay people” does not distinguish between men and women.

An Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion (EMHC) is an adult lay person who has been selected by the Pastor to serve the community of the faithful by distributing the body and blood of Christ at Mass when requested to do so. Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are also commissioned by the Pastor to take Holy Communion to those members of the parish who are unable to celebrate Sunday Mass with us.

There are two aspects of Eucharistic Ministry at Incarnation Parish. EMHCs assist the clergy in distributing Holy Communion during Sunday and weekday liturgies. In addition, they are sent forth by the parish to bring the Word of God and the Eucharist to parishioners who are unable to join us at Mass because they are ill, homebound, in nursing homes, or in local care facilities.

Q: Who may serve as an EMHC?

  • Must be 16 years of age or older and have received all the sacraments of initiation – Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist.
  • If married, the marriage must be a valid Catholic marriage.
  • Must be a practicing Catholic who is a registered parishioner and shows a deep reverence for and devotion to the Holy Eucharist by their demeanor, their attire, and the manner in which they handle the consecrated bread and wine.
  • Must have a sense of responsibility, and a sincere desire to serve their fellow parishioners.

Q: I want to volunteer. What do I do?

Volunteers must receive sufficient spiritual, theological and practical preparation to fulfill their role with knowledge and reverence. To arrange for training or to ask any question you may have, please contact the parish office 202-396-0942 or email Roberta Bumbray at

Roberta Bumbray

                                                               Roberta Bumbray, Coordinator


EMHC Guidelines

Authors:  Barbara Luther/Deacon Mike Greenfield