Mary, Mother of God Church

      157 South Triangle Road, Hillsborough, NJ 08844

                              (908) 874-8220










                POLICY FOR





                                  UPDATED 08/28/15




Table of Contents




3.    ARRIVAL. 5










This document has been prepared for Extraordinary Ministers (EMs) of the Eucharist, serving at Mary, Mother of God Parish in Hillsborough, New Jersey.  It is our hope that this document will provide each EM with the information they need to serve in this capacity with confidence.  Updates to this document and other information is available online at the MMOG Ministry Website at:

This is an awesome ministry in that we come in contact with the Most Blessed Sacrament as we serve others.  It is an honor to serve in this ministry and we must respond that way.  Like Mary, we too may respond with our fiat to His call of service.


 Our soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;

     And our spirits rejoice in God, our Savior.

         For He has looked upon our lowliness;

  The Mighty one has done great things for us,

                           And Holy is His name.


As an Extraordinary Minister, you are an example to others.  Parishioners will look at you to see how you act, how you dress, how you speak.  This is both in and out of church.  It is especially important to set a good example of honor and respect whenever you are in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.  In the presence of the Blessed Sacrament you should try to refrain from talking, certainly no unnecessary talking or joking.  You should genuflect as you pass the tabernacle, and before you enter your pew.  Your reverence, love and respect should be obvious and it will be a light to others. 

As an Extraordinary Minister, you should have a deep respect and understanding of the substantial, true presence of God in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.  You are encouraged to spend Holy Hours in Adoration.  Our church has Eucharistic Adoration in the Day Chapel from Friday morning after the 8:30 Mass until 10AM on Sunday.

Ordinary Ministers of the Eucharist are those who have received the sacrament of Holy Orders, i.e. our Priests and Deacons.  The term Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist means that we are Extra Ministers, serving in addition to the Ordinary Ministers, only if there is a need.  An EM should NEVER take the place of an Ordinary Minister, unless there is a reason (i.e. the Ordinary Minister is ill).

There may be times when an unexpected Deacon or Priest ends up at a Mass we are serving at, and since they are Ordinary Ministers, an EM may be called to step down.  Do not be prideful, resentful, angry or hurt. 

There may be times when we are called to serve in the gym.  Remember, Jesus’ humble entrance into the world as he was laid in a manger.  The surroundings are not what is important.  Jesus in the Eucharist is what is important.  Be humble as Jesus was humble, serve as Jesus served.

Msgr. Liam told a story about an elderly woman who lived at the bottom of a steep hill.  The Church she attended was at the top of the hill.  Every morning she would walk up the steep hill to attend Mass.  Across the street from her lived an atheist who thought her daily journey was ridiculous.  One cold, icy day as he returned home from an all night party in the early morning he joked that at least that day she would not be climbing up that hill.  Much to his amazement, as he approached his home, he saw her negotiating the steep hill on her hands and knees.  He was extremely affected by this.  The next day he went up that hill to speak to the Pastor.  He wanted to know what it was that he had in that Church that would make an old lady climb an icy hill on her hands and knees.  He then learned about God in the Eucharist and eventually converted.

We pray that each Extraordinary Minister develop the same level of devotion and desire for Jesus in the Eucharist as that woman.  That is what we should all be striving for.   We pray that others will see that devotion in us and it will bring about great conversions in our parish.  May God bless each of you abundantly.  -  Amen


v  The Eucharist

·         The word Eucharist means thanksgiving.  It is the name given to the Blessed Sacrament.  It also describes the liturgical rite which brings us to the Table of the Lord, the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  We experience the Eucharist during Mass as both Sacrifice and Sacrament.  During the Sacrifice of the Mass, bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. Then we receive the Eucharistic Jesus in the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

·         The Eucharist refers to both the Body of Christ (consecrated bread) and the Blood of Christ (consecrated wine), both of which are fully the actual Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We believe that Jesus Christ is truly substantially present under the appearance of bread and wine.

·         During the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we witness the words of institution and the consecration, which is when the Priest speaks the words of Jesus and by the Power of the Holy Spirit, the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus.  This change is called transubstantiation, the substance of bread and wine transform into the Body and Blood of Our Lord.  The bread and wine are now consecrated

·         Any vessels that held the Body or Blood of Christ must be purified when done being used.  This is a special way of cleaning the vessels so as not to treat any particles of the Lord left in the vessels with disrespect.  Vessels with particles of Host or any Precious Blood should be purified before they are put away.

·         The bread and wine that we have in the sacristy is unconsecrated.  Unconsecrated hosts are NEVER to be placed in a tabernacle.  The tabernacle is used to hold consecrated Hosts in reserve, and consecrated and unconsecrated hosts should NEVER be mixed.

·         Eucharistic Adoration – The Eucharist is exposed so that it may be adored.  This is called Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.  During Exposition there is often a rite called Benediction that takes place, which consists of the singing of certain hymns, prayers and a Eucharistic blessing.  Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in our church starts after morning Mass on Friday and concludes at 10AM on Sunday.  When Adoration is going on, there is someone present with the Lord at all times. 

·         The monstrance is the vessel used to display the exposed Eucharist. It comes from the word: monstrar  which means to show.

·         The lunette is a glass holder that holds the actual Host, the Body of Christ.  The lunette is slid into the monstrance by a Deacon or Priest at the start of exposition.

v  The linens used during Mass.  They are found in the top drawer of the chest of drawers in the Working Sacristy.  There are also some (for emergency purposes) located in the credence table behind the Altar:

·         The corporal is a square cloth, with a cross towards the bottom.  It is folded in thirds, and thirds again, so that when unfolded you will see 9 sections.  Vessels that contain unconsecrated hosts and wine to be consecrated during Mass should be touching a portion of the corporal during the consecration.  If a vessel is not touching a corporal, it does not mean that the bread or wine are not consecrated – all vessels that contain bread or wine that the Priest intends to consecrate for that Mass are consecrated.  Also good to note, items that the Priest does NOT intend to consecrate, are not consecrated – i.e. if the flagon is inadvertently left on the Altar, the wine in it is still wine.

·         The purificator is a rectangle.  It also has a cross on it.  It is folded in thirds then in half.  It is used when distributing the Precious Blood and when purifying vessels.

·         The fingertip towel is usually smaller than a purificator and has no cross on it.  It is folded in thirds then in half.  It is used to dry hands.

·         The pall is a small linen square that has a cross on it.  It has a plastic insert.  It is used to cover the chalice and protect the Precious Blood while communion is being distributed.

v  The vessels used during Mass.  All the vessels are in the cabinets in the Working Sacristy unless otherwise noted.

·         The chalice is the cup used by the priest to consecrate the wine during Mass.  The chalices are located in the cupboard to the right of the sink.

·         The paten is a small metal plate used to hold the large host to be consecrated during Mass.  Each chalice in the cupboard has a paten on top of it.

·         The cruets are small glass pitchers used to hold water and wine.  The wine cruet is used during daily Mass and on Sundays if the Priest prefers it to the flagon.  There are usually wine and water cruets in the refrigerator.  Extras cruets are located in the first cupboard as you enter the sacristy.

·         A ciborium is the vessel used to distribute communion during Mass.  They are located in the cupboard to the right of the sink.  Most ciboria are rather large bowls with a lid.  Some, however, look like a chalice with a lid (chalices do not have lids). 

·         A pyx is a small metal vessel with an attached lid used to transport communion to the sick and homebound.  The pyxes are located in the drawer to the right of the sink.  It is also the name of the vessel used to hold the lunette containing the Host used during Adoration.

·         A burse is a small fabric or leather pouch used to hold a pyx for protection.

·         The flagon is used to hold large quantities of wine which will be consecrated during Mass.  There are both metal and glass flagons located in the cupboard to the left of the sink.  The glass flagons are only used on special occasions.

·         The cups used to distribute the Precious Blood to the congregation are located in the cupboard to the right of the sink.

·         Ablution Cup – used to rinse fingers after distribution of communion.  It is kept on the credence table, along with a fingertip towel.

·         A fingertip bowl - A dish or bowl is used to collect water when the priest’s hands are washed during Mass.  We use a glass dish.  They are usually already on the credence table, however, extras are located in the first cabinet as you enter the sacristy.

v  Roles

·         Ordinary Ministers of the Eucharist are Bishops, Priests and Deacons

·         Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist is an extra lay person that will serve in addition to the ordinary ministers of the Eucharist, if there is a need.

·         The Sacristan is the person who is responsible to setup for the Mass and to clean up after Mass is over.

v  The Church

·         The narthex - The gathering space as you enter the church building.  

·         The nave - the main part of the church where the congregation sits.

·         The sanctuary is the area in the front of the nave up the steps.  It is where the Altar is located.

·         The tabernacle is a metal case used to hold consecrated hosts that were not consumed during Mass.  It is directly behind the Altar.

·         The Sanctuary Candle – this candle is lit whenever Jesus is present in the tabernacle.  It is mounted on the wall to the left of the tabernacle.

·         The ambo is where the Liturgy of the Word is proclaimed, it is the lectern on the sacristy side of the Altar

·         The Altar is where the Mass is celebrated

·         The lectern by the choir is used for announcements and by the music ministry

·         The credence table is the small table located in an alcove behind the tabernacle.  It is used to hold any items used during Mass.  There should always be a lighter and an ablution cup with a fingertip towel on the table.  There is a drawer in the credence table that contains extra linens.  Additional items are put on the credence table for use during Mass.

·         The gift table - There is a small table at the back of the nave which is where we place the gifts to be brought down during Mass.

v  The sacristy

·         The sacristy is a room where the vestments, church furnishings, sacred vessels, linens, and other treasures are kept.  It is where the clergy meet and vest, and where vessels are purified after usage, if not purified during Mass.  We have two sacristies – the Vesting Sacristy which is located in the Narthex area – it is where the Priests and Deacons vest, and the Working Sacristy which is located behind the sanctuary – it is where the vessels used during Mass are located.  It is where the Sacristan would go to setup for Mass.

·         The sacrarium is a sink that drains into the ground.  The sacrarium is used to take care of any Hosts or any Precious Blood that is not consumable for some reason (i.e. it was spit up, or if the Precious Blood spilled on the floor).  Each sacristy contains a sacrarium which is marked.  It is the right sink in both sacristies.

v  The Day Chapel

·         The Day Chapel is smaller than the Main Church, it has an Altar, tabernacle, sanctuary candle, and ambo.  It is used to celebrate Daily Mass, for Eucharistic Adoration and for other smaller gatherings.  Adoration starts after the Friday 8:30 Mass and continues until 10AM on Sunday.  On Sundays, EMs who brought communion to the sick return any extra Hosts to the Day Chapel tabernacle and then purify the pyx in the Working Sacristy.  The outside entrance to the Chapel is located to the right of the rectory.  The Working Sacristy is down the half flight of stairs in the hall, just inside the doors to the nave.


v  If you are not scheduled for the Mass you are attending, stop and check to see if help is needed.

v  If you are the sacristan, be there 20-30 minutes prior to Mass.

v  All other EMs that are serving should be there 15 minutes prior to Mass. 

v  You should sign in on the schedule sheet in the sign-in area, initial the position you intend to distribute communion from.  This way it is quick and easy to find out if anyone is missing.  The sign-in area is down the hall, there is no door, but there is a sign on the wall.  Do not stand or chat in the Vesting Sacristy as the Priests and Deacons need time to prepare for Mass. 

v  If you are the sacristan, you should follow the instructions on the counter in the Working Sacristy.  The instructions are also available for review on the Mary, Mother of God Website.

v  If you are not sacristan, but the assigned sacristan has not yet arrived, you should start setting up regardless.  The assigned sacristan can take over for you when they arrive.  If the assigned sacristan prefers help, it is ok for one EM to assist. 


v  Setup hosts for consecration.  First, check the tabernacle to see how many ciboria are in there and how full they are.  If it is locked and the key is not in the lock, you will need to get the key from the Working Sacristy.  MAKE SURE THE KEY STAYS IN THE TABERNACLE FOR USE DURING MASS!  If the Priest is available, let him know the status of the ciboria in the tabernacle, and how many ministers will be distributing the host.  Prepare ciboria with hosts to be consecrated according to the information below and make sure they are placed on the gift table at the back of the nave

·         Number of ciboria needed at Mass:

o    For the 6:30PM and 7:30AM Masses: a total of 3 should be enough

o    For all other Masses: a total of 5 should be enough

o    check the setup sheet in the Working Sacristy for any changes  

o    The Priest for that Mass or the Deacon may suggest a different number if the Mass is unusually crowded or sparse – this only happens on Holy Days or special occasions

·         It is NOT DESIRABLE to have a large number of Hosts left after Mass, only enough to bring to the sick and nursing homes.

·         If some ciboria in the tabernacle are nearly empty, you may combine them with another ciborium.  Do not do this unnecessarily, only if the extra ciborium is needed

o    Any ciboria that were emptied should be purified.  Procedures are found section 8 of this document.

o    Counting the number of ciboria in the tabernacle (consecrated), make up the difference for the ciboria needed for the Mass by filling empty ciboria with unconsecrated hosts, placing these on the small gift table at the back of the nave.  If the ciboria in the tabernacle are very full, then you may fill the remaining ciboria with just a few hosts for consecration and place them on the gift table, or place empty ciboria on the credence table as needed.  You should ask the Priest how he would like this to be handled.

o    Empty ciboria may be found in the cupboard to the right of the sink.

o    Unconsecrated hosts may be found in the glass jar on the counter of the chest of drawers.  If the jar is empty, there are boxes of hosts in the second drawer of the chest of drawers.

o    Unconsecrated hosts NEVER  NEVER  NEVER get put into the tabernacle.

v  There should be a fingertip towel on the credence table next to the ablution cup for washing fingers.

v  There should be a glass dish for hand washing, a fingertip towel, and one cruet full of water on the credence table to be used during Mass.

·         The dish for hand washing may be found in the first cupboard as you enter the sacristy.

·         The cruets should be in the fridge, if not they will be in the first cupboard as you enter the sacristy.

·         The water comes from bottled water in the fridge.  Extra bottled water can be found in the cabinet under the fridge.

v  If the priest serving requires a special wine, then put his wine in a cruet and place it on the gift table, unless he gives alternate instructions on where it should be placed.

v  Fill the flagon or a cruet with enough wine for the priest’s chalice AND the number of cups that will be used to distribute the Precious Blood, and place it on the gift table. 

·         You may fill the flagon or cruet from the open bottle of wine in the fridge.  There should always be a second bottle in there as well.  New bottles may be found in wine boxes either under the fridge or in the closet.  Empty bottles should be returned to the box upside down.

·         The cups should usually be about ˝ full, a little less during flu and cold season.  You may measure into the flagon by pouring the appropriate amount into one of the cups and from there into the flagon, repeating as needed.  Rinse and dry the cup that was used.

·         The flagon or wine cruet is brought down with the gifts, so it should be placed on the gift table.

·         The flagon is located in the cupboard to the left of the sink.  If using a wine cruet, it should already be in the fridge, but if not, cruets can be found in the first cupboard as you enter the Working Sacristy.

v  Gluten-free hosts can be found in the vesting sacristy, in the cabinet to the right of the sink.  The cabinet is marked.   There is also a pyx in that cabinet that is exclusively for gluten-free hosts.

·         Each gluten-free host MUST be kept separate from the other hosts.  They should be put into the pyx, the pyx should be closed and placed on the gift table to be brought down with the gifts.  MAKE SURE THE USHERS KNOW THAT THERE IS A PYX TO BE BROUGHT DOWN WITH THE GIFTS.


·         Parishioners will request gluten-free hosts if needed.

v  The cups to be used to distribute the Precious Blood should be placed on the credence table along with one purificator for each cup.

·         The cups are located in the cupboard to the right of the sink.

·         You may use a tray for the cups which is located on the counter to the right of the sink. 

·         The tray should be covered with a corporal and the cups placed on top of the corporal.

·         The purificators are located in the top drawer of the chest of drawers.

v  Setup the chalice  and make sure it is on the credence table:

·         The Priest may have a preferred chalice.  There is a paper that shows which priest is celebrating each Mass.  It is located on the counter of the chest of drawers. 

·         Either make sure there is a corporal on the Altar, or place one on the pall


                        CHALICE SETUP




















v  Just before Mass starts, make sure the candles by the Altar are lit.  The Altar Servers are supposed to do this, but just check to make sure they did.  If needed, a lighter may be found on the credence table or in the credence table drawer. 

·         9AM MASS ONLY make sure the pyxes are on a tray on the gift table

·          The pyxes should be placed open, on a corporal that has been placed on the pewter tray. 

·          The pewter tray should be located on the counter to the right of the sink. 

·          The pyxes are in the drawer to the right of the sink. 

·          The pyxes should be filled with unconsecrated hosts, to be consecrated during Mass.

·          The number of hosts to put in each pyx is based on the sheet either on the counter to the right of the sink, or in the pyx drawer.

o     Nursing home pyxes:

The largest pyx is used for Foothills and one of the large flatter pyxes is used for Emeritus 

o    Pyxes for the homebound:

There are two homebound routes.  A pyx should be chosen based on the number of hosts needed for each route.  Sometimes an EM may prefer to use their own pyx.  You should put in one or two extra hosts in each pyx in case a caregiver also needs to receive communion



for ALL EMs, primarily the Sacristan




+THE CREDENCE TABLE  the table behind the Altar should contain:

>The cups and one purificator for each cup.  They should be on a tray that is covered with a corporal
>There should be a glass dish for the celebrant to wash his hands
>There should be a fingertip towel to dry the celebrant’s hands
>ONE cruet of water for purification of vessels and for washing the celebrant’s hands
>The set up Chalice
>IF there is no corporal on the Altar, A corporal should be part of the setup chalice


+The GIFT TABLE  should contain:

>Any Ciboria containing hosts to be consecrated
>The flagon or cruet with wine to be consecrated
>If the celebrant has his own wine, the cruet with his wine to be consecrated
>9AM MASS ONLY - The tray with the pyxes.  The pyxes should be open and on a corporal.
>Any pyx (closed) with gluten-free hosts if necessary


+THE ALTAR  should contain:

>A corporal - Note: if there is no corporal on the Altar, one should be included in the setup of the chalice
>The candles on either side of the Altar should be lit


NOTE: There should be extra fingertip towels, purificators and corporals in the credence table drawer.  If any of these are used before or during Mass, please re-stock after the Mass.  It is good to check on this periodically.


v  After Mass, the sacristan is responsible for making sure that all ciboria and cups requiring purification are purified.  If a Deacon is present, he will purify all vessels.  EMs should not actually be purifying vessels, however if no one else is available to purify the vessels, the Sacristan will need to do this.  (See section 8 for purification of vessels). 

v  Feel free to begin setting up for the next Mass if there is one immediately following the Mass that just ended.

v  Purificators used during Mass should be placed in the white hamper in the Working Sacristy.  Do not close the lid to allow for air circulation.  Hang wet linens on the sides.

v  If the fingertip towel is not in good shape that should be placed in the white hamper as well.

v  All purified vessels should be placed in the cupboard to the right of the sink in their marked locations, unless needed for the next Mass.

v  The pall should be placed as is in the top drawer of the chest of drawers, unless needed for the next Mass.

v  The chalice and paten should be placed in the cupboard to the right of the sink, unless needed for the next Mass.

v  The Pyx tray and cup tray (unless needed for the next Mass) should be placed on the counter to the right of the sink.  If it is the last Mass, the corporals can be folded and put back in the top drawer, unless they need to be cleaned.

v  After the 5PM Saturday Mass, 12PM Sunday Mass and all Masses on Holy Days, the tabernacle key should be returned to the sacristy. 

v  NOTE: after the 12PM Mass, make sure the EM assigned to clean the pyxes is present and performing that task.  If they are not, help should be recruited to accomplish this.


       after the 12PM Mass

v  EMs returning from bringing communion to the sick should be purifying their pyx, however there are times when a pyx has been left in the Day Chapel tabernacle.

v  You will need key for the Day Chapel tabernacle.

v  All pyxes found in the Day Chapel’s Tabernacle, other than the large pyx holding the Host for Adoration, should be emptied if needed, into the ciborium in the Tabernacle, then purified and put away (see section 8).

v  Make sure that both Tabernacle keys are put back in the sacristy when done. 



v  EMs should NOT PURIFY VESSELS IN THE SACRISTY IF an instituted acolyte, Deacon, or Priest is available, unless the Deacon or Priest are necessarily occupied with other tasks.

v  Ordinary Ministers SHOULD purify all vessels if possible

v  If there is no Ordinary Minister available to purify vessels, then this is the procedure:

·         When purifying the cup pour in some water from the water cruet or from the bottled water and swirl gently to rinse any Precious Blood from the sides, and drink the water mixed with the Precious Blood.  Repeat as necessary to consume all traces of Precious Blood, and then dry the cup with a purificator

·         When purifying pyxes and ciboria, pour water into the vessel, swirl, and then consume in the same manner as the cup.  When done the vessel should be dried.  If you have a number of vessels to purify, you may pour water in one, swirl the water and pour that water into the next, swirl and so on.  You should repeat at least once.  You should try to end with the water in a vessel that is easy to drink from.  When done, dry all vessels.

·         Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES during purification, should anything be poured down a sacrarium.  ONLY if the Eucharist is spit up or is inconsumable for some other reason, should it be poured down a sacrarium

·         Put all vessels away when done (see section 2 for locations).  When putting a pyx away, leave it open so it can dry thoroughly.  Some pyxes have rusted due to them being closed with some residual water in them.