An extraordinary minister of Holy Communion
in the Catholic Church
is, under the Code of Canon Law
, "an acolyte, or another of Christ's faithful deputed", in certain circumstances, to distribute Holy Communion
. The term "extraordinary" distinguishes such a person from the ordinary (normal, regular) minister of Holy Communion, namely a bishop
Canon law permits that "here the needs of the Church require and ministers are not available, lay people, even though they are not lectors or acolytes, can supply certain of their functions, that is, exercise the ministry of the word, preside over liturgical prayers, confer baptism and distribute Holy Communion, in accordance with the provisions of the law." The term "lay people" does not distinguish between men and women.
The extraordinary minister's function is to distribute Holy Communion, either within Mass
or by taking it to a sick person, when an ordained minister (bishop, priest or deacon) is absent or impeded.
In order to avoid confusion about this function, an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion is not to be called a "special minister of Holy Communion", nor an "extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist", nor a "special minister of the Eucharist".Redemptionis sacramentum
Ten years before publication of the present Code of Canon... Read More