At the direction of Pope Benedict XVI, extraordinary ministers of holy Communion will no longer be permitted to assist in the purification of the sacred vessels at Masses in the United States.
In an Oct. 23 letter, Bishop William S. Skylstad, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, asked his fellow bishops to inform all pastors of the change, which was prompted by a letter from Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.
Another "legitimate option" when "the high number of communicants may render it inadvisable for everyone to drink from the chalice" is intinction -- the practice of dipping the consecrated host into the consecrated wine -- "with reception on the tongue always and everywhere," (emphasis mine) the cardinal's letter said.
Ordinary ministers of Communion are priests and deacons, with instituted acolytes being permitted in the Roman Missal to help the priest or deacon "to purify and arrange the sacred vessels."
In the United States, instituted acolytes, who must be male, generally are seminarians preparing for priesthood.
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In Our Lord and Our Lady,
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