KOTA KINABALU – Fresh from the re-commissioning of the extraordinary ministers of communion (EMC) during the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ at Sacred Heart Cathedral here on 18 June 2017, Francis Liew, from among the longer serving EMCs (more than 30 years), shared with Catholic Sabah what it means to be a minister of Holy Communion.
There is no more intimate moment in our lives than when we receive Jesus in Holy Communion, and in return, with love and gratitude, we offer Him ourselves to serve Him present in the assembly by ministering His Body and Blood to our brothers and sisters, Liew said.
In a nutshell, Liew said, our willingness to serve as an ECM not only means our response in living out our baptismal call to serve God by serving His people, but also a commitment to Christ in sharing the teachings and traditions of the Church.
“We also serve by taking Communion to those members who are prevented by sickness, old age, or other causes from taking part in the gathering for Mass, thereby contributing to the unity of the entire worshipping community,” he added.
Recalling his days in the seminary, the EMC felt perhaps his seminary background has provided a familiarity with the liturgical aspects, which led to a better understanding and the required discipline. His days as an altar server too served a purpose.
Notwithstanding that, Liew opined that the periodic reflection, yearly re-commissioning, and reminders of expectations and standards required by the diocese go a long way to enable the ECMs to maintain their faithfulness and commitment in fulfilling their role.
Serving in this role entails the discipline of preparation by prayer and meditation so that “we are able to fulfill the role with reverence that is due to the Lord,” said Liew.
He fervently believes that the practice of ‘silence’ predisposes the minister to first acknowledge who it is that he is serving, and that “handling the Communion” is not out of the ordinary things he does. – CS