Designated communion minister

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Fr. Turner, thank you for your simple explanation of the GIRM and other liturgical documents. I often consult your book “Let Us Pray“, but was unable to find an answer to the following question.

In our parish, after their line of communicants has received, eucharistic ministers then go to the back and distribute to those who were unable to walk to the front themselves. I recently had a man in line to receive Eucharist, request 2 hosts, so he could take one back to the pew for his wife. He seemed a little put out that I told him that we would come to his wife, but I did not think that it was proper to just pass out multiple hosts. Should the Eucharist be passed from person to person, or ‘received’ from the minister with the ciborium?

I know that eucharistic ministers receive from the priest and then distribute, but how many levels of distribution should there be? Even if he is a commissioned extraordinary minister, shouldn’t his wife wait until a minister brings communion to her? 

Your insight will be appreciated.


A: Only a designated communion minister may distribute communion.

GIRM 160 says, “It is not permitted for the faithful to take the consecrated Bread or the sacred chalice by themselves and, still less, to hand them on from one to another among themselves.”