Putting the Extra in Extraordinary Ministers

Putting the Extra in Extraordinary Ministers

When training Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (oftentimes referred to as EMs for short), there’s an old joke that any leader will tell the new ministers. It goes something along the lines of, “You may be an extraordinary person, but that’s not why you will be called an extraordinary minister.” The joke usually gets a chuckle, but points to a truth about being a Extraordinary Minister. While all of the EMs at St. Mary Immaculate are extraordinary people (we can personally vouch for them), the point is that the title of Extraordinary Ministers puts the emphasis on the circumstance of the minister, not the minster per se.

Ordinary Ministers

One must understand there are also Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. These are bishops, priests, and deacons who have been ordained by God, to be the ordinary ministers. Back before the Second Vatican Council, the Ordinary Ministers were the only ones who could be in the sanctuary, let alone distribute Communion.

Since the council, the laity has the opportunity (when pastorally acceptable) to distribute Communion, as Extraordinary Ministers. Now, pastorally acceptable has a broad definition, but for the purposes of St. Mary Immaculate, we have Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion because the number of Mass-goers warrants it. Communion takes a long time as it is, even with the number of ministers we have from Mass to Mass.

When Do We Need Extraordinary Ministers?

But think about the purposes of having Extraordinary Ministers for other circumstances. You can read more about the role of these ministers here. There are extreme cases to need these ministers too. Certain parts of the world have an extremely small number of priests. Priests will often go to missionary lands to be able to cover large areas that the local priests can’t cover. They need help at Mass because like at St. Mary’s, Communion would take an extremely long time if left to one man. To be able to distribute Communion, they must delegate that to lay people.

And close to home, the need to take Communion to the home bound is great. This includes taking Communion to the elderly in nursing homes and hospitals. While we have 3 priests on staff (a blessing for a parish our size), we need a large number of Extraordinary Ministers who take Communion to those who cannot attend Mass on Sunday due to illness or the inability to get to Mass. If we were to just have Ordinary Ministers, our priests would never sleep!

Why Extra?

So while Extraordinary Ministers may feel like they are just extra, the Church sees the need in having faithful lay people assist in distributing Communion. However, we need Extraordinary Ministers who are not simply “there to help.” We need Extraordinary Ministers dedicated to the reverence of the Eucharist, and feel called to serve the needs of those who wish to receive the Eucharist. The focus must be the circumstance of the minister, not the minister themselves. Handling our Lord is an extreme privilege, and ministers must take their role seriously. Because while they are extraordinary, they are anything but extra.

Back to SMI Blog

Inquiry Night

Are you being called to the Permanent Deaconate? Have you ever had questions about what it takes to become a Permanent Deacon?

Join us on Tuesday, July 16th at 7:00 pm in North Wing B&C to have all of your permanent deacon questions answered. Meet some of our current deacons and learn about formation in the Diocese of Joliet. All men and their wives are welcome!

For more information, contact Fr. John Regan at jregan@smip.org.

Back to News

Catechists/Mentors Needed

The Religious Education and Confirmation offices are looking for catechists and mentors for the upcoming year. Catechists and Mentors are responsible for helping the youth of our parish learn the faith so they can be adequately prepared to receive the Sacraments.

Our Religious Education program is for children Pre-K to 6th grade. The Confirmation program is for students in 7th – 8th grade.

No prior experience required! All materials and training will be provided. All that is needed is a love for Jesus Christ and helping youth learn about the Catholic faith.

If you have questions, please contact either the Religious Education office at 815-436-4501 or the Confirmation office at 815-436-2861. Be sure to also visit our Religious Education and Confirmation pages for more information.

Back to News


Nourish is for anyone juggling the challenges of life, health, career and caring for a parent, grandparent, spouse, or child in town or at a distance. Nourish provides family caregivers practical and emotional supports, shared experiences and useful tools, all with a Christ-centered view. Discover the blessings in caring for another.

Join us at St. Mary Immaculate on Thursday, July 18th as our support group by discussing the roles in caregiving, the decisions faced, and caregiving as doing God’s work. As we are able to embrace this concept, we are able to move with joy and fulfillment in all the tasks and responsibilities associated with caring for another. We become the hands and feet for our Lord to our loved one. This discussion will take place in the Small Meeting Room and will be facilitated by Dcn. Mike Perkins and MaryBeth Perkins.

Visit www.nourishforcaregivers.com for more information about Nourish and how it supports the community.

Back to News

Spiritual Change

With Daily Mass set to move to Cana Hall for the next few weeks, it can seem like a change of scenery is a hassle or is an unwelcome change from routines to which we’ve grown accustomed. Other times, we find ourselves excited for a mix-up from the monotony. Whatever the feeling, the secret to living well in life and in a parish is being able to adapt and accept change, particularly in the spiritual life.

In reality,  the only constant that exists is change (and God of course). Sadly, change can be the one thing we struggle with the most. In fact, most of us find it difficult to implement any change in our own lives because of the perceived backlash from those around us. Upsetting the balance I’ve delicately created could make people upset, is ultimately the thought that crushes us.

This happens frequently in the spiritual life. No matter how big or small the change, we are hesitant to upset the balance we’ve created. God wants to radically change us so that we can be close to Him. He calls us to this change constantly, yet we still falter. Why? Because comfort is comfortable. Sacrificing to live the life of Christ is not comfortable and requires massive changes. We see this in the Gospels, particularly as we enter Ordinary Time.

But, we have the Sacraments and we have the Mass. And most importantly, we have a community of believers that help and support us on our spiritual journey. The constant reality of a community of the faithful can help us immensely when times get difficult. So when change comes knocking, and it most definitely will, know Christ will guide us through it. The Carthusian Order’s motto is “the cross is steady, while the world is turning.” Let us strive to live this reality, that even as things change around us, we can rely on a Christ that does not change, and is steady, even as the world is not.

Back to SMI Blog

Senior Citizen Health Fair

State Representative Mark Batinick will host his annual FREE Senior Citizen Health Fair at St. Mary Immaculate Parish on Thursday, July 25, from 9:00 a.m. until Noon in the Parish Gym.  The fair will feature FREE refreshments, health screenings and door prizes.  Over 20 organizations, businesses and community services will be participating in this event. 

NEW THIS  YEAR:  The Secretary of State Mobile Unit Services will be on site. Seniors, age 74 or younger or age 75 & older who have passed a driving test, can   renew their driver’s license.  Furthermore, attendees will also be able to renew their State ID, purchase license plate stickers, and sign up for organ donation or voter registration.

For more information, please call 815-254-0000 or visit repbatinick.com. No registration for this event required.

Back to News