Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion Procedures

If you cannot serve as scheduled, please request a substitute before Friday at noon on the scheduling program. Also notify our liturgist, Shari@staparish.net or text/call 515-509-6851, expecially if you discover you need a substitute after noon on Friday. Thanks!


Please arrive at Mass 10 minutes early and check in with the Mass coordinator holding the clipboard. If you are scheduled, confirm that your position matches what you are expecting from the schedule. If not scheduled, please volunteer if needed. Early arrival also helps you prepare mentally and spiritually to celebrate well.


During the Exchange of Peace, greet one or two people nearby. Then sanitize your hands using the metal dispenser on the credence cabinet and come to your assigned position on the altar platform before the “Lamb of God” begins.


Before the Assembly Receives:

1. “Host Prep” retrieves the empty bowls (ciboria) from the credence cabinet, brings them to the altar, assists the priest by distributing hosts evenly among them, and places them on the near corners of the altar. Host Prep then asks Father on which side he wishes to distribute, and goes to the opposite side.

2. The remaining ministers stand on the first step of the altar platform: Cup distributers on their assigned corners; Host distributers on their assigned sides

3. “Cup Prep” stands at the corner nearest the piano.

4. “Low Gluten Bread” distributor will stand on the east side of the platform. When we are short on ministers, this person may double as a cup minister once low gluten recipients have received communion.

4. The priest will distribute, beginning with “Cup Prep.” After he gives the chalice to “Cup Prep” he will proceed to distribute the Body of Christ to all on the platform step.

5. Immediately after the priest gives Communion to the next minister, Cup Prep will follow the priest and distribute the Blood of Christ to each cup minister, handing each their cup and purificator. The presider cup, with the fragment of host in it, should remain on the piano corner so that gluten intolerant people may avoid it.

6. Cup ministers will distribute to Host ministers standing near them, including the low gluten distributor.

Location & Distribution:

  • Ministers of the Hosts, including the priest, stand side by side at the heads of the north and south aisles.
  • The Sacristan will check with and see if you need more hosts. Know who the sacristan is and make eye contact when you are running low.
  • When you are finished check that the choir has received Communion before returning to the altar.
  • Use a purificator (not the felt squares!) to wipe particles from your ciborium into the large bowl. When you are done, the sacristan takes the remaining consecrated hosts to the tabernacle.
  • Low Gluten Minister will serve only if a gluten-intolerant communicant has placed a low-gluten host in the small ciborium. If no such person is present, then this minister will not need to serve. Check with the sacristan or Mass coordinator for a final determination when Mass begins.
  • Ministers of the Cup step down from the altar platform and stand angled, facing the people approaching.  Offer the cup proclaiming, “Blood of Christ”. Eye contact and/or a smile are not inappropriate.
  • Use the entire purificator: unfold it and wipe the rim of the cup—outside and inside. After each person receives, turn the cup ¼ turn to present a different part of the rim to the next communicant.
  • When you run out of Precious Blood, return your cup inside the credence cabinet, purificator on top, not stuffed in. Return to your seat.
  • When the North assembly has all received, determine the South cup ministers' need. Check with the choir director to ensure the musicians have all received Communion. If not, wait for them to receive.
  • If the entire congregation has received, walk to the credence cabinet, consume with reverence all Precious Blood that remains, and return to your seat.

After Communion:

The last minister at the altar helps clear the altar (Host prep, please make sure this happens!). Return ciboria to the shelf inside the credence cabinet.


What if there’s Precious Blood remaining?

Consume it at the credence cabinet—not at the altar. Please, not on the way to the credence cabinet. Use the wording “The Blood of Christ,” instead of “Here, can you please finish this?”

What if something spills?

If a consecrated host is dropped, consume it or hold it to consume later. If any of the Precious Blood is spilled, blot with the purificator. Clean up space with water after Mass. Call on the sacristan if you need assistance.

What should I wear? Is there a dress code?

Use common sense. The Eucharist should get all the attention, and the minister should get none. Appropriate clothes do not mean “formal” dress. Avoid tight or revealing clothing, baseball caps, and T-shirts with statements, especially rival schools, or political parties.

What if people come forward with arms crossed on their chest/ask for a blessing?

Keep it simple. You might lay the heel of your palm on a child’s head and say “May God bless you,” or make a wordless Sign of the Cross over their head.

What if I can’t serve as scheduled?

Communion ministers are responsible for getting a substitute. If at all possible do so ahead of time. The scheduling program makes it easy to request substitutes and swap in for others. Last minute absence? Text the parish liturgist.