Notes for Eucharistic Minister Training
When you approach, do not come with your hands stretched or your fingers separated, but make your left hand a throne for the right which is to receive a king.
- Instructions on receiving the bread by Cyril of Jerusalem
The cultic purpose of church buildings centered on the midieval understanding of communion. This was seen as the miraculous transformation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of the Lord, and as a renewal of the sacrifice of Christ. Inasmuch as possible, a church building has to be worthy of such miraculous events, and of the Body of Christ that was reserved in it even after the service. The church was not seen primarily as a building for meeting or even for worship, but as the setting in which the Great Miracle took place. Thus, what a town or a village had in mind in building a church was to build a setting for its most precious jewel.
- The Story of Christianity, Justo Gonzalez
Eucharistic Minister Guidelines
This is a sacred responsibility. It is not to be taken lightly.
Make eye contact, if possible.
Do not rush. If you fall behind, the others will wait for you to catch up.
If you do not know what to do, stop what you’re doing and ask for help.
Give Katie room. If she has stopped to lay hands on someone, keep at least a one person gap between the two of you.
If you spill consecrated wine, even a drop, it is expected that you wipe it up.
If someone drops some consecrated bread, pick it up and eat it.
If someone drops the bread into the chalice, try to react quickly and say something like ’Hold on’ or ’That’s ok’ and move the chalice away. Don’t be surprised if the person reaches in to grab the host and don’t make a big deal about it if they do. There is a spoon with holes in it on the altar that is specifically for removing the host from the wine.
Make sure there is enough wine in the chalice. Some people prefer to take a mouthful of wine, not just a sip. Do not skimp or ’make do’ with what you have. The objective is not to ration the wine so as to run out on the last person. The objective is that everyone gets as much as they want with some left over.
Don’t let the intinction chalice run out either. The bread will soak up the wine and all you’ll have left is wet crumbs at the bottom.
One of the Eucharistic ministers should get the reserve out of the ambry/tabernacle and place it on the altar. After every trip down the rail, check your chalice and determine whether or not you ought to add more wine. When done, put the reserve away.
What happens to leftover wine and bread?
- Placed in reserve
- Reverently disposed of via piscina or burial
What happens if we run out of bread or wine?
- The Celebrant consecrates additional bread and wine, using the form on page 408.
What words do you use when offering the sacrament?
Follow the lead of the person administering the bread in deciding which version to use.
Rite I Only
The Bread and the Cup are given to the communicants with these words
The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life. Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and feed on him in thy heart by faith, with thanksgiving.
The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life. Drink this in remembrance that Christ’s Blood was shed for thee, and be thankful.
Rite I or II
The Body (Blood) of our Lord Jesus Christ keep you in everlasting life.
Rite I or II
The Body of Christ, the bread of heaven. The Blood of Christ, the cup of salvation.
From An Outline of the Faith Commonly called the Catechism
Q. What are the sacraments?
A. The sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace.
Q. What is grace?
A. Grace is God’s favor towards us, unearned and undeserved; by grace God forgives our sins, enlightens our minds, stirs our hearts, and strengthens our wills.
Q. What are the two great sacraments of the Gospel?
A. The two great sacraments given by Christ to his Church are Holy Baptism and the Holy Eucharist.
The Holy Eucharist
Q. What is the Holy Eucharist?
A. The Holy Eucharist is the sacrament commanded by Christ for the continual remembrance of his life, death, and resurrection, until his coming again.
Q. Why is the Eucharist called a sacrifice?
A. Because the Eucharist, the Church’s sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, is the way by which the sacrifice of Christ is made present, and in which he unites us to his one offering of himself.
Q. By what other names is this service known?
A. The Holy Eucharist is called the Lord’s Supper, and Holy Communion; it is also known as the Divine Liturgy, the Mass, and the Great Offering.
Q. What is the outward and visible sign in the Eucharist?
A. The outward and visible sign in the Eucharist is bread and wine, given and received according to Christ’s command.
Q. What is the inward and spiritual grace given in the Eucharist?
A. The inward and spiritual grace in the Holy Communion is the Body and Blood of Christ given to his people, and received by faith.
Q. What are the benefits which we receive in the Lord’s Supper?
A. The benefits we receive are the forgiveness of our sins, the strengthening of our union with Christ and one another, and the foretaste of the heavenly banquet which is our nourishment in eternal life.
Q. What is required of us when we come to the Eucharist?
A. It is required that we should examine our lives, repent of our sins, and be in love and charity with all people.
From the 39 Articles of Religion
As established by the Bishops, the Clergy, and the Laity of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, in Convention, on the twelfth day of September, in the Year of our Lord, 1801.
XXV. Of the Sacraments.
Sacraments ordained of Christ be not only badges or tokens of Christian men’s profession, but rather they be certain sure witnesses, and effectual signs of grace, and God’s good will towards us, by the which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our Faith in him.
There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord.
Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures; but yet have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.
The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same, they have a wholesome effect or operation: but they that receive them unworthily, purchase to themselves damnation, as Saint Paul saith.
XXVI. Of the Unworthiness of the Ministers, which hinders not the effect of the Sacraments.
Although in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometimes the evil have chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments, yet forasmuch as they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ’s, and do minister by his commission and authority, we may use their Ministry, both in hearing the Word of God, and in receiving the Sacraments. Neither is the effect of Christ’s ordinance taken away by their wickedness, nor the grace of God’s gifts diminished from such as by faith, and rightly, do receive the Sacraments ministered unto them; which be effectual, because of Christ’s institution and promise, although they be ministered by evil men.
Nevertheless, it appertaineth to the discipline of the Church, that inquiry be made of evil Ministers, and that they be accused by those that have knowledge of their offences; and finally, being found guilty, by just judgment be deposed.
XXVIII. Of the Lord’s Supper.
The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another; but rather it is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ’s death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.
Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.
The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is Faith.
The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.
XXIX. Of the Wicked, which eat not the Body of Christ in the use of the Lord’s Supper.
The Wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth (as Saint Augustine saith) the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ; yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ: but rather, to their condemnation, do eat and drink the sign or Sacrament of so great a thing.
XXX. Of both Kinds.
The Cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the Lay-people: for both the parts of the Lord’s Sacrament, by Christ’s ordinance and commandment, ought to be ministered to all Christian men alike.