Skip to comments.Parishes Report Extraordinary Minister Shortage
Posted on 03/02/2006 10:05:17 AM PST by franky
DAVENPORT, IOWAWhile Catholics across the country pray for an end to the religious vocations crisis, many parishes are now reporting a sharp decline in extraordinary ministers, the lay volunteers who distribute Communion to parishioners.
It has gotten so bad we only have two Eucharistic ministers for every one parishioner, said Nelda Roarke, an extraordinary minister at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Davenport, Iowa. I can remember the days when we had more people up here with the priest than we had people in the pews, Roarke said. It looks like those days may be gone.
Gina Louvain, an extraordinary minister at Queen of Mercy Catholic Church in Birmingham, Alabama, said she thinks people at her parish are just losing their commitment to service. I guess people are just more interested in praying in their pews or contemplating Christ or something, whatever that means, she said.
Ive heard that at one parish the priest actually distributes Communion by himself now, said Louvain. In an attempt to counter the shortage, Roarke is hosting a spiritual retreat for current extraordinary ministers, as well as for those who feel God may be calling them to the job. People need to know about the rich spiritual heritage Eucharistic ministers have, Roarke said. Why, I believe Sts. Peter and Andrew helped Jesus distribute bread and wine to the other disciples at the Last Supper. Well, at least that is what I am telling people, anyway.
She has also designed buttons for extraordinary ministers to wear that state, Im Extraordinary. I think the Garamond font will really grab people, Roarke said. The first thing parishioners will notice when they go up to receive Communion is this button. It will remind them whose presence they are in.
Benny Fiedler, who serves as an extraordinary minister at St. John the Baptist Church in El Paso, Texas, said he hopes people will heed the call and start volunteering again.
Sometimes Catholics just dont realize what they have, he said. Back when Catholics used to believe these hosts were actually Jesus body, nobody but the priest would be allowed to touch them. But now that we have advanced in our wisdom and knowledge, we are allowed to do almost as much as the priests do.
This has to be satire. How I wish it were true!
I just opened my eyes and found that Maureen Martin is the pen name of a Catholic satirist. Amen!
If you read past the second item at the Crisis Mag link, this piece is clearly identified as satire.
This is the disclaimer at the bottom of the column: "Maureen Martin is the pen name of a Catholic satirist who encourages readers not to look to the Enquirer for actual facts and information. You can visit her blog, catholicnews.org, at http://maureenmartinblog.blogspot.com. "
dry satire bump!
Still wonder if it's tongue-in-cheek? LOL.
I subscribe to Crisis and thought this hilarious...I think we can all agree that Crisis has improved under it's current Editor....I wish it had the bite of say "The Wanderer" or "New Oxford Review" but it's very excessible to the masses
Whoa ... there's the slippery slope. Glad to hear that in certain parishes, "only the priest" is now distributing communion. And no doubt the lines move just as quickly.
If only it were true!! ;o)
I know some of our EEMs, and they're not ALL the priestess-wannabe types or the meddling little old ladies. And our church is so large that it might be tough to get everybody through the line in a reasonable period of time. The church seats about 800 people, and it is usually SRO at the 10 and 11:30 Masses (less so at 8 am and 530 pm). For special occasions like Ash Wednesday or the penance services they bring in extra priests, and everyone can receive from a priest, but under ordinary circumstances I'm not sure that our rector and his vicar (even with the assistance of the two deacons) could manage it and still keep the Mass within shouting distance of one hour. Not to mention that everybody in the choir loft would have to sprint downstairs . . . (and it's not just the choir, we usually have a nearly-full house of parishioners up there on either side of the choir area. We have to rope off our section or they start crowding into it . . . )
I guess it's a good problem to have.
I wonder if anybody has ever considered using the EEMs just for the chalice, while everyone receives the Host from a priest or a deacon. That was the way it was done in my old ECUSA church - my husband was head usher, so he counted noses every Sunday and it was usually 5-600 people. The priest was usually assisted by the vicar and one deacon in distributing the Host, while lay people held the chalices (one each side of the rail).
The thing is, distributing Holy Communion under both kinds is not a necessity. And EMHCs should only be used in the case of necessity.
One or two priests distributing hosts only, with altar rails, can allow for a rapid process.
Incremental steps might work, however.
"It has gotten so bad we only have two Eucharistic ministers for every one parishioner, said Nelda Roarke, an extraordinary minister at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Davenport, Iowa. I can remember the days when we had more people up here with the priest than we had people in the pews, Roarke said. It looks like those days may be gone. "
Hahaha. Niice. Funniness. Although, I still long for that! :-p
>>>>I can remember the days when we had more people up here with the priest than we had people in the pews, Roarke said. It looks like those days may be gone.
I went to a daily Mass once where this was almost true. There were over 12 people up there, it took them twice as long to serve each other and sort out the mess than it took to serve the remaining handfull in the pews. If we hadn't brought the kids that day the "E"EMs would have outnumbered us.
IIRC, this was the day I decided I would never be an "E"EM
As others have pointed out, it's satire. If you go to the author's website, you'll find a link to another blog -- and it's hilarious ( http://musumpontificalis.blogspot.com/ ). The blog is written by someone writing in Benedict XVI's voice.
It contains this article:
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Good day, Children.
I apologize for the sporadic musings, but being the Holy Roman Pontiff is no small chore. I have a lot of pressing issues to deal with, but havent been able do much toward resolving them, because I have been being assaulted by the Religious Consumerism that I had spoken of during World Youth Day.
Apparently those purveyors of unadulterated consumerism and greed were quite impressed by the success of WYD Cologne. The pontifical phone line has been ringing off the hook with various offers to shamelessly market my humble self and/or the great Holy Roman Catholic Church.
Here are some of the ridiculous and offensive proposals that have come in:
The American network, CBS was first to call. They suggested a Catholic version of Survivor called Survivor-Los Angeles. Their idea is to film a bunch of young men in a seminary that is located in a liberal diocese, then see if any of them can survive without becoming a heretic; whoever makes it through formation with their orthodoxy in tact becomes the winner, if no one makes it, then the least heretical person wins. Shocked by the mere suggestion, I rejected them outright.
Bravo called with an offer to do a show called Queer Eye for the Sacred Guy. Their idea was to send in some homosexual men to update various parishes. One man would be responsible for redecorating the parish by removing all of the passé art and functional furniture, like pews and kneelers - then replacing them with cushioned or bean bag chairs. A fashion advisor would design some flashy pastel or rainbow colored vestments that are as he said, modernly classic, yet playful, and just scream, Hug me, Im the father you always wanted.
Another gentleman would focus on the priests appearance. Offering him tips on shaving, bath gels, hair dyes and ready-to-go hairstyles that say, Im not all business. The priest would then receive pointers on how to reinvent himself into the mod-guy who everyone is just dying to be around. He would be instructed on how to not offend anybodys sensibilities and how to keep the focus of the homily on himself. To these folks, I just said, No thank you. You are suggesting nothing new, weve been seeing these very things played out for forty years; the only difference is, there hasnt been a camera crew chronicling it.
MTV wants to do a Real World -The Vatican, starring the likes of Cardinals Martini and Mahony, Bishops Lynch and Clark, along with myself and Archbishop Burke. They are even trying to secure the SSPXs Bishop Williamson to mix things up a bit more. I simply told them that the real world is not something to attain, that they should focus on our Lord and His Kingdom.
Fox has an idea for a spin-off of the Simple Life. They want to take an Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Sister and an Adrian Dominican and send them down to live with Mother Angelicas Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration. I actually thought about that one for a moment, but I had to tell them that while it could only be edifying for the dissenting duo, it would be like imposing on those wonderful and humble Poor Clares a severe penance at best, or a horrible cancer at worst. I just couldnt allow it to happen.
NBC offered to have a series called The Last Homilist Standing. I reminded them of how poorly they managed the Last Comic Standing and in a moment of clarity, they withdrew the offer on their own.
CTND (Catholic Television of Detroit) called with a suggestion called Vocation Swap. Their idea is to have an IHM nun spend the weekend as a priest, doing priestly duties, while the priest spends the same time protesting outside of nuclear power facilities and promoting a new kind of ancient spirituality that possesses a radical feminist agenda. My reply: No way, Jose, but thanks for reaffirming that you definitely need Abp. Burke over there in Motown!
Another producer from NBC called and wants me to star in a show called The Acolyte. The idea is to have a group of young men and women vie for the position to be the server at my Masses. I would give them difficult tasks to do, like memorizing the De Profundis or the Rite of Exorcism in Latin, designing a new miter for me, and finding innovative ways to remove table altars and restore beautiful high altars. At the end of every show, I would have to pick some one and say something like, "Little Sally; youre excommunicated!" I just told them that I am not qualified to have this show, because I dont have a hideous wig to wear.
Then he had the nerve to suggest a show called Fear of God Factor where a bunch Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist would have to do things like approach the altar without genuflecting, retrieve the Blessed Sacrament from the tabernacle, self communicate, and numerous other perilous deeds. I just hung up on the guy...but not before anathematizing him and all he produces!
Fox wanted to do a show called Average Peter. They would find a group of young schismatic men and introduce them to a new pope who was just elected by Internet conclave, but who in reality is just a non-practicing Unitarian and let the contestants vie for the new pontiffs blessing and gain a plenary indulgence. I said, Im sorry, thats just a little too real.
Im sure that is not all of the offers I had, but you get the idea. So you see, children; the Religious Consumerism is alive and well and ever-present. Be solicitous that you do not fall into the allure of its empty promises. It is indeed just another deception of the infernal enemy.
No longer are these ministers call "Eucharistic" ministers. The only Eucharistic minister at a Mass is the priest.
The correct title according to the GIRM is
"Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion".
I recall reading of an experiement done at Purdue U. shortly after communion in the hand was authorized. It was determined that having the parishioners line up to the priest, rather than having the priest go down he communion rail, was 20% faster.
The thing that struck me at the time was that Lillian Gilbreth, of CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN fame, was on the faculty at the time. She and her husband had "made their names" doing time-and-motion studies. So it was somehow fitting that the experiment would be done at Purdue.
I was a member of the student parish at Purdue, St. Thomas Aquina, when I was a graduate student there.