First, it may be helpful to clear up a few common misconceptions:
- A Eucharistic Minister is not a member of the clergy or part of the paid parish staff.
- Not all EM’s are formally training to become clergy, although serving as an EM is common for seminary students and candidates for the diaconate.
- EM’s don’t preach sermons, unless they are also licensed to preach
A Eucharistic Minister is a lay person who has been licensed to assist with distributing communion. Depending on the diocese and individual parish, a Eucharistic Minister may also be trained to serve as a Lay Reader, who reads the Old Testament, Psalm and New Testament readings, and lead the Prayers of the People (intercessory prayer).
An EM may also chose to be licensed as a Eucharistic Visitor, who takes communion to the sick who are unable to attend church. Another responsibility that an EM may have is leading Morning and Evening Prayer services. In short, it’s a lay, volunteer ministry that helps provide support to the clergy.