Manual for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

General Guidelines

  • If you are unable to serve at your assigned time, please try to find a replacement to take your place in advance.  If you cannot find a replacement, please notify someone that you will serve with so that they will know to try and find someone that day.
  • Please arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of Mass.
  • Please check in to ensure that there are enough extra-ordinary ministers for the Mass.  With the exception of the 7:00 am Sunday Mass, a total of 8 is required (including any priests and deacons who are present.)

The Sign of Peace

  • According to liturgical law, the ciboria from the tabernacle should reach the altar before the Lamb of God/Agnus Dei begins (or at least while it is still being sung.)  As a result, it is important for the person who is responsible for going to the tabernacle to do this as soon as possible.  I would suggest on the side, close to the tabernacle, and leaving as soon as possible.  I would suggest sitting on the side, close to the tabernacle, and leaving as soon as "Let us offer each other the sign of peace" is said.


  • The tabernacle is reverenced at the beginning and end of Mass with a genuflection.  During the Mass itself, only the altar is reverenced, and this is done with a bow.  The one exception is when the tabernacle is open.  In this case, the rule is "Empty hands, open tabernacle."  That is, you genuflect after the tabernacle has been opened, but before you retrieve the ciboria.  When the ciboria are replaced, genuflect after they have been placed in the tabernacle, but before the door is closed.

Communion Rite

  •  The ciboria should be brought from the tabernacle and placed on the altar.  The ciboria should be placed on the left side of the altar as you approach from the tabernacle.  This is the side opposite where the communion chalices are located.  Again, it is important that they be brought to the altar as soon as possible.
  • After you have distributed communion, please return to the altar with your ciborium or chalice.  If any of the Precious Blood is left in the chalice, please consume it at your station before approaching the altar.  Please place the chalices on the right side of the altar (the side where the lectors and altar servers sit) and stack the purificators on the altar.  The ciborium should again be placed on the left side of the altar.  The priest or deacon will consolidate and stack the ciboria and hand them to the minister who will take them to the tabernacle.
  • After you have placed your ciborium or chalice on the altar, please bow to the altar and return to your seat.