As early as the third and fourth centuries, historical documentation proves that among the practices of the Church the faithful received the Eucharist in their hands. To carry a provision of the consecrated bread home to consume between celebrations of the liturgy was also a common practice. Keeping the Eucharist at home was well founded during the times of the persecution. During the sixth and seventh centuries, a special box in the home was designed for this purpose. As the ecclesiastical church progressed, the distribution of the Eucharist was entrusted more and more to priests. In the ninth century, the practice of confiding the Eucharist to the laity was abolished.
In 1970, the Holy See granted bishops the opportunity to designate members of the laity as Eucharistic Ministers upon the request of the local pastor. This was not simply a move back to the practices of the early church, but an attempt to combine past disciplines with the pastoral needs of the present.
The Eucharistic Ministers at St. Mary’s were formed as a small group to assist with the sick and the homebound of the parish community. In time the Eucharistic Ministers were added to the Sunday Mass services and parish liturgies. Presently, we are also providing this Ministry at the local hospitals and nursing homes to bring peace and Communion to parishioners who cannot come to Mass.
May our love and joy be evident as we share your Son’s Body and Blood with our brothers and sisters. May we truly be ministers, as was Jesus while on earth. Bless us and bless all those we serve. We ask this in the name of Jesus, Your Son, in union with Your Spirit of Love. Amen
If you are interested in the Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministry Program please contact: Laraine Gilberti at 973-625-5228 or email atGILBERTI1@aol.com