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Receiving Holy Communion
Question from Mimi on 11/16/2008:

We have extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist who help out at several Masses on a Sunday. I was taught that you could receive Communion twice on one day in the context of a Mass and a third time only if it was Viaticom. These ministers receive 3 and 4 times and when I questioned them said that the pastor told them it was okay. Are the rules different for extraordinary ministers??

Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 11/16/2008:

There is no such thing as an "extraordinary minister of the Eucharist." Only the priest is a minister of the Eucharist.

There are "extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion." Such ministers may only receive Holy Communion twice in a day, just like anyone else.

In fact, a priest may also only receive Holy Communion twice in one day. The only exception for him is on Sundays or holy days of obligation when he may receive a third time, if he needs to celebrate a third Mass due to pastoral necessity. He may not receive a fourth time nor celebrate a fourth Mass.

There is no reason for extraordinary ministers to serve at multiple Masses in a single day.

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