The Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion (EMHC) is a lay member of the faithful or a person in religious or consecrated life who has been deputed (appointed to a particular task) to help distribute Holy Communion when a sufficient number of ordinary ministers are not present, available or capable, and when the priest celebrant has determined that pastoral need requires their help. When called upon to assist, the EMHC will distribute either the host or the chalice to the faithful. Note that in the midst of COVID-19, the chalice is rarely used.
Only those persons who are selected by their respective pastor or chaplain and fulfill the requirements mandated by the law of the Church are eligible to serve as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion in the Diocese of Bridgeport. Those requirements include:
- Being of at least 16 years old;
- Being a fully-initiated Catholic Christian who has been Confirmed and has already received the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist
- Being of good moral character
- Not being bound by any canonical penalty legitimately imposed or declared;
- Demonstrating a genuine reverence and respect for the Most Blessed Sacrament;
- If married, being in a valid marriage according to the prescriptions of the current Code of Canon Law;
- Being in full compliance with the norms of the Safe Environment Program of the Diocese of Bridgeport.
Each candidate for this important ministry is to adhere to this formation process, as outlined in the Norms Governing the Liturgical Ministries. Given the circumstances in which we find ourselves, formation has been streamlined for easy completion, without sacrificing the importance of the content.
When you click the link below to begin formation, you will be asked to register on LEAD, our learning portal. Choose the EMHC learning path on the registration page (in English or Spanish), and then log in to begin your studies.
- You will see that there is an assignment to submit a letter of recommendation. Simply download the form, have your pastor complete it, and either upload it to LEAD or mail it back to The Institute for Catholic Formation, 238 Jewett Ave. Bridgeport, CT 06606.
- Courses online are simple, short, and straightforward. They are designed so you can complete them in one sitting per course. If you quit a course before you finish, you may have to restart that course.
- Upon completion of the required formation, each candidate will be given a letter of authorization by the Bishop which will allow him or her to serve in their respective parishes for a period of three years.
Additional mandates can be requested for those who wish to serve in multiple parishes and/or nursing homes, retirement communities, hospitals, etc. Each additional mandate request must include the approval of the pastor and/or chaplain at the secondary sites. A form to request an additional mandate can be downloaded here.