On the Spot aims to highlight some of the complex positions, questions and comments experienced by catechists, teachers and parents. It tries to outline the knowledge necessary to be faithful to Church teaching and which will best help those we teach who call us to account for the hope that is in us. This time we look at a question sometimes faced by those who want to respond to the call of the laity to participate more fully in their sharing of the prophetic, priestly and kingly office of Christ.
The young mother at the school gate recognised me and came over to chat. She, a cradle Catholic, had recently attended a parish talk on ministry in the Church, thinking it would increase her understanding of her faith; and now she found that she had been included in the numbers on a course especially to train Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. She was a little puzzled.
‘They didn't ask me if I wanted to be a Eucharistic Minister,’ she said. ‘They just assumed that everyone wants to do this.’
I was reminded of the recent RCIA meeting where two or three of those preparing to enter into full communion with the Church confided to me that they were really looking forward to perhaps being an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist.
Both the reluctant and the enthusiastic would-be Minister of the Eucharist indicate two areas of misunderstanding over the role of the laity in the Church. Firstly, the reality of what it means to act as an Extraordinary Minister; and secondly, the resultant obscuring that can take place of the laity’s true dignity and office.
How, therefore, can we catechize to ensure that the unique role of the laity is brought out?