Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  Are extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion required to have a formal commissioning by a priest and if so should it be done annually ?  Of course this is taking into consideration that they have received “sufficient spiritual, theological, and practical preparation to fulfill their role with knowledge and reverence”.  Thank You for your insight and guidance.

A:  GIRM 162 says that in distributing communion, the priest may be assisted by “faithful who have been duly deputed for this purpose.” The Vatican’s document “On Certain Questions on Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest” article 8 says ,”A non-ordained member of the faithful, in cases of true necessity, may be deputed by the diocesan bishop, using the appropriate form of blessing for these situation, to act as an extraordinary minister to distribute Holy Communion outside of liturgical celebrations ad actum vel ad tempus or for a more stable period.”

So, yes, a priest should commission the minister using chapter 63 of the Book of Blessings. The diocesan bishop may determine if the permission needs to be renewed and how often.