Reflections of a Eucharistic Minister


I am often asked these three questions:

“Why are you a Eucharistic Minister?  .  “How did you start doing this?”  .  “Why do you do it”?

Many years ago Sister Sheila asked if I would like to become a Eucharistic Minister. Although it reads like a question or invitation at the time it felt more like an instruction.    

My elder sister, Lynn, who is also a Eucharistic Minister, and I were each given a blessing by Canon Ryan to serve the parish in this ministry.  He welcomed us into this Ministry by commissioning us at a Vigil Mass one Saturday evening.  I remember well the spiritual element of that commissioning into service in the Church. It wasn’t something I would do but rather a person that I would be.

My first visit as a Eucharistic Minister was to Dave Wood, now of fond memory.  It meant very much to him to receive the Eucharist. Over the years I have visited so many people in the exercise of this ministry with whom there arose a profound bond or relationship through this Sacrament. It meant so very much to Dave and to others like Dave that he was remembered by the parishioners through the visits to his home by the Eucharistic Minister.  Dave used to say to me it was the “Church’s way of bringing Mass to him; and therefore he felt he was not missing out”

There can be a mixture of deep and conflicting emotions when you are living out this Ministry. It can be a time of happiness and equally of sadness.  I recently experienced this with the death of Jean Bannon and Mary Boyle. To visit them both was a joy. They were both so happy to be remembered by the Parish of St Bride’s which they had been members of for fifty years.  Their faith, dedication to the Word of God and to the Eucharist and their love of the Saints was for me very inspiring.

I have also visited Acorn Park Care Home (formerly Kittoch Glen Care Home) to assist the Eucharistic Minister, Paul Ellis. Paul is always keen to share with other Eucharistic Ministers his experiences there in his ministry. Paul always has a story to tell!  And you can see and feel the concern Paul has for those he visits. My sister Lynn visited recently with Paul and she said to us “isn’t it amazing that the residents despite their frailty don’t forget their prayers”   

“Why do it” – my first thought is that I have always wanted  to give back to St Bride’s and to thank in a dynamic way those who like the priests of the parish, Sister Maria Goretti and the Eucharistic Ministers of this parish who had visited my mum when over many years she was sick at home.  Through this ministry, I have become very enriched in patience, empathy, love, understanding and the bond of St Bride’s in faith

Andrea Muldoon,  Advent 2014


The words Eucharistic Minister properly understood refer only to an ordained priest whose duty it is to build up people into the Mystical Body of Christ, sanctifying the world by making us into the Sacrifice of Christ constantly consecrated in praise to the Father. Any exercise of the Church’ priestly role by lay persons is always related to and is dependent upon the functioning of the ministerial priesthood. An Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist is a Catholic lay person who assists the priest in the distribution of Holy Communion either during Mass or afterwards in the homes or places of residence of persons unable to come to the celebration of the Eucharist at the Parish Sunday Mass. This priestly function is the role of the Church as a whole and of each of her members but it can only attain its full and sacramental realisation through the action of the ministerial, ordained priesthood.

The Instruction issued by Pope Paul VI on 25th January 1973, [called Immensae Caritatis] which re-introduced into the life of the Church the role of the Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist provides that those appointed as Extraordinary Ministers by the parish clergy should: distinguish themselves by Christian life, faith and morals. Let them strive to be worthy of this great office: let them cultivate devotion to the Holy Eucharist and show themselves an example to the other faithful by their piety and reverence for this most holy Sacrament of the altar. Let no one be chosen whose selection may cause scandal among the faithful.” 

Sister Sheila spoke to me when I first started being a Eucharistic Minister about how to conduct a service prayerfully and with reverence when bringing Holy Communion to the sick and the housebound.    Eucharistic Minister do not receive formal training, more the Priest will talk and advise them of the procedure of the visit.   Recently Deacon John held a meeting with Eucharistic Ministers. There will be a further meeting early next year where all ministers will be invited to  come together to pray and to reflect with Deacon John on this ministry and to discuss an deal with any difficulties or issues.  

I was recently asked by a friend who is in another Parish how she would approach asking her Priest for a Eucharistic Minister to visit her mum who was poorly at home.   They were not sure of what to do or how to prepare for the Eucharistic Minister’s visit.  There is no need for any formal setting.  The Minister will bring the Eucharist in a pyx together with a container of Holy Water and often a candle.  The Eucharistic Minister will organise the setting on their visit which is nothing too formal or complicated.

I left this ministry of service in the church several years ago as I did not have the time to commit to visiting due to work commitments.  Later when I stopped travelling with work, I offered to return and this offer was accepted by the parish priest.  I had noticed the amount of people on the sick list. I also missed visiting as it can be very uplifting and I have admiration of those who have stayed strong to their faith. I have experienced this when I visit such as Dougie Campbell, Ann O’ Connor and Margaret Peden who are so thankful to be remembered by and be of concern to the Parish.  

Being a Eucharistic Minister is a very rewarding experience which both the visited and the Minister benefit from. They both receive the healing presence of God in their life. A very special bond is formed in faith, hope and love.   

Andrea Muldoon,  Advent 2014