With the Pro-life issue so hot right now especially with some Catholic Universities inviting pro-abortion speakers to their commencement ceremonies,  I wonder how deep this issue really goes.  For instance, the lay ministries have grown throughout the Catholic Church during the past decade to the degree that some Catholics probably haven't received communion from a priest in months or even years with the growing use of Eucharistic Ministers and shortage of priests.  What are these special ministers of the Church?  How much training to they receive, by whom, and what are the requirements needed by these individuals to fulfill this sacred post?

In the Sacramentum Caritatis, Pope Benedict XVI writes extensively about the Eucharist and how it is the source and summit in all aspects of the Christian life, not just on Sunday mornings. He writes, "Thus men and women are invited and led to offer themselves, their works and all creation in union with Christ."  Second Vatican council stated,

"the Church, in Christ, is a sacrament - a sign and instrument - of communion with God and of the unity of the entire human race."  The good pope continued in writing that, "The fact that the Church is the 'universal sacrament of salvation" shows how the sacramental economy ultimately determines the way that Christ, the one Savior, through the Spirit, reaches our lives in ALL their particularity."

The pope speaks of social responsibility to the Catholic Social teachings in regards to Catholics holding political and legislative positions, these teachings that cannot be negotiated such as: respect for human life, its defence from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one's children and the promotion of the common good in all its forms."  The synod fathers stated that,

"The Christian faithful need a fuller understanding of the relationship between the Eucharist and their daily lives. Eucharistic spirituality is not just participation in Mass and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.  It embraces the whole of life."

The Eucharist and the lay faithful should be "lived," meeting each of us where we are, making our existence the place where we experience daily the radical newness of the Christian life...a call to holiness - which must be clearly evident in the way individual Christians live their lives - as a vocation for God's glory.  The moral transformation of the Eucharist that takes place in a believer

has the value of a 'spiritual worship' (Rom 12:1; Phil 3:3) flowing from and nourished by that inexhaustible source of holiness and glorification of God which is found in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist;  by sharing in the sacrament of the Cross, the Christian partakes of Christ's self-giving love and is equipped and committed to live this same charity in all his thoughts and deeds."

To summarize all this, I see that the Eucharistic Ministers are a witness to all those who receive the holy body of Christ from them.  They are the Church's helpmates, service stewards representing the Church in all the splendor Christ desired for her here on earth.  She, the Church, cares for the flock of the great Shepherd until He comes again in glory.  Those who serve Her should likewise be a mirror of Her.  One who does not totally understand the teachings of the Church, should refrain from serving her until they can be understood.  Those who train them up should have this in mind as they recruit and train individuals to be Eucharistic Ministers.
Copyright 2009 Ebeth Weidner