Q: I have a question about when the Eucharistic Ministers should approach the altar. The rubic from the GIRM states that ministers should not approach the altar until the priest has received communion. 162. My question is: What is considered communion—consuming of the consecrated host or both the host and consecrated wine? There is confusion as to wait after the bread is consumed or wait after both the bread and wine are consumed. Some argue that because Christ is as much present in the host as in the wine, one species should be considered “communion” and there is not a need to wait for the wine to be consumed before approaching the altar. Thoughts?
A: GIRM 162 surely means that ministers do not approach the altar until the priest has finished receiving communion under both forms.
The communion chant, by contrast, begins with his communion (Order of Mass 136 and GIRM86 & 159.)
Of additional interest is that the rubric you cite describes when the ministers “approach the altar.” That is not the same as when they “enter the sanctuary.” Ministers may enter the sanctuary before the priest receives communion, but they should not approach the altar to receive communion from him until he is done. The point is that they should not look like concelebrants up there. Being in the sanctuary is fine. Even servers normally are in the sanctuary.