Dear Catholic Exchange:

Yesterday, Friday, there was apparently no Eucharistic Minister to assist our priest, so he distributed the Body of Christ, and we "helped ourselves" to the Blood of Christ. I've never seen this done before and wonder if this is acceptable.

Thank you,



Dear Sheila,

Peace in Christ!

"Helping ourselves" is well said. The term the Church uses is "self-communication" which refers to the reception of Holy Communion without the assistance of a minister.

A lay person may not self-communicate. Rather, a lay person should receive Holy Communion from an ordinary minister (bishop, priest, or deacon) or an extraordinary minister (duly authorized lay person).

"Communion is a gift of the Lord, given to the faithful through the minister appointed for this purpose" (Inaestimabile Donum, no. 9). Receiving Communion from a minister is a practice that vividly symbolizes the fact that we receive Jesus through the ministry of the Church.

For further explanation, please see our Faith Fact Self-Communication.

United in the Faith,

Eric Stoutz
Information Specialist
Catholics United for the Faith
827 North Fourth Street
Steubenville, OH 43952
800-MY-FAITH (800-693-2484)

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  • Guest

    I think that a priest can designate one in attendance to be the minister of Communion when there is a need.  This a is a temporary delegation (or deputation) as the usual authorization is by the bishop.


    So the priest could ask someone he knows to be a faithful Catholic, who is attending that service to be the minister of the precious blood.