Distributing Communion

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Is there a guideline or advisory on priest assisting in giving communion at Mass, besides the presence of extraordinary ministers of holy communion? The priest or priests in question isn’t/aren’t the celebrant nor concelebrant(s). At the same time, if there is one, at which moment during Mass should  the priest comes in to assist? What posture  should the priest adopt, kneel at the doxology if he is present at this point? 

Thank you always for your answers to all our queries.


A: The only hint of having a non-concelebrating priest help distribute communion is in GIRM 162: “In the distribution of Communion the Priest may be assisted by other Priests who happen to be present. If such Priests are not present and there is a truly large number of communicants, the Priest may call upon extraordinary ministers to assist him.”

The priests “who happen to be present” could include those who arrive just for the distribution of communion. I think it’s not ideal for a priest to appear just for communion distribution, but if he does, it would make sense for him to join the community from the time of the Lord’s Prayer to the end of mass. That way he is participating in the whole communion rite. Logically, he would not say, “Lord, I am not worthy” if he is not a communicant at the mass.

But again, there are no rules. So common sense should prevail.