Youth Eucharistic Ministers

Guidelines Regarding Adolescents and Their Inclusion as Special Ministers of the Eucharist

The Vigil of Palm Sunday 1999 has become a significant date for the young people across the Archdiocese of Baltimore. In preparation for Holy Week each year, young people walk together in pilgrimage, making this a profound celebration of their faith. In 1999, the 6th Pilgrimage for Young Adults and Youth was also the occasion on which Cardinal Keeler made effective these guidelines regarding adolescents and their inclusion as Special Ministers of the Eucharist.


  1. Special ministers of the Eucharist are delegated not to replace the ordinary ministers, but to augment them in real pastoral need. Such a need may arise when ordinary ministers (priest, deacon, or formally installed acolyte) are not available, or when they are unable to administer Holy Communion conveniently because of poor health or advanced age, or when the number of the faithful who wish to receive Communion is so great that the celebration of Mass would be unduly prolonged. (Can.910) (CCC 1348)
  2. Special ministers of the Eucharist should be at least 16 years old, having been confirmed, of sufficient Christian maturity with a definite continuing relationship to the parish or institution served including an understanding of and regular participation in the Eucharist and with a character and way of life that reflects a serious and well-informed faith commitment to the church. Special Ministers of the Eucharist are to be given sufficient formation and training for the role to be undertaken and must continue to participate in faith formation programs on a regular basis. They will at all times demonstrate a reverence for the Eucharist. [Immensae Caritatis, 6] (CCC 1074)
  3. Designation of special minister of the Eucharist is made by the archdiocesan chancellor to whom the written request should be made setting forth a description of the needs of the situation, the names of the candidates, affirmation of their qualifications and the number of special ministers already functioning at the location. Designation of special ministers of the Eucharist is made for a term of three years. For young people ages 16 and 17, designation as special minister of the Eucharist is for a one year term. A parish or institution served must submit the names of any special ministers of the Eucharist for renewal.
  4. Special ministers of the Eucharist are designated for a particular parish or institution only. In some circumstances, it may be appropriate for individuals to be designated as Special Ministers of the Eucharist in more than one faith community. They are to be commissioned for the role according to the “Rite of Commission Special Ministers of Holy Communion.” Parishes or the Institution served should keep a current list of all such special ministers. (cf. Also #4.5.20. p.65). (Pol)
  5. In cases of emergency when there is no time to apply to the archdiocesan chancellor and for a specific occasion only, all priests who enjoy the faculties of the archdiocese may appoint a special minister or ministers for that occasion alone. Such special ministers are to be commissioned according to the “Rite of Commissioning a Special Minister to distribute Holy Communion on a Single Occasion.” [cf. The Rites, vol 2] (Pol).