Ministers of Holy Communion

Deepening Faith

According to the official teaching of the Catholic Church, liturgical formation is to focus on foundational Sacred Scripture (Bible), History, Theology, and connect these with daily living (spirituality via the social sciences).
Pope St. John Paul and Pope Francis have personally added a very significant need: living the Holy Eucharist from the perspective of social justice.
For the above reasons Buffalo Diocesan sessions are no longer referred to as “training.” Sessions set aside time for practice of the ministry, only after an in-depth examination of the above Church teaching as ground for personal and professional knowledge. 
This is the reason formation sessions last 3-4 hours.  These formation sessions are more than reviewing “dos-and-don’ts.” They include the “why” of assisting the priest and deacon in ministering Holy Communion and they address the “how” of Eucharistic living.

What will I take away?

From the practical or “how to” perspective, formation sessions concretely define and practice “hands-on” reverence. 

Our contemporary popes, along with Bishop Fisher have been and are committed to liturgy as beautiful action, an inspiring encounter with Jesus through the priests, deacons, and ministers.

Teamwork analogously leading to an unforgettably, awesome “football pass,” or “symphony concert,” takes much practice and even more mindful attentiveness.

Analogously, the same is true of a well versed, honed, and reverent liturgical minister. When knowledge of the tools of the trade binds with informed, conscious, competent and reverent usage, beauty is revealed as the presence of God.

Continually Learning

Most employees in any enterprise participate in regular updates, refreshers, or continuing education.

Catholic liturgical ministers also need to grow in their knowledge and love of Jesus, including those trained more than 10 years ago.

Many Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion trained long ago have found participation at these formation sessions to be informative and inspiring.

Constantly in Awe

“Before our response to his invitation — well before! — there is his desire for us.

We may not even be aware of it, but every time we go to Mass, the first reason is that we are drawn there by his desire for us.

For our part, the possible response — which is also the most demanding asceticism — is, as always, that surrender to this love, that letting ourselves be drawn by him.

Indeed, every reception of communion of the Body and Blood of Christ was already desired by him in the Last Supper.”

—Pope Francis,
Desiderio Desideravi no. 6

  • First, speak to your pastor/pastoral administrator. They will need to recommend you for this ministry.
  • Next, complete this form and return it to the Office of Worship with your priest’s signature and parish seal.
  • You will be contacted directly regarding upcoming formation opportunities.
  • You should receive a formal mandate from the Bishop soon after the formation session is completed.
  • Take the time to orient yourself to your parish/family procedures including schedule and location of items in your sacristy.
  • Your pastor may invite you to be formally installed at Mass.
  • Formation Sessions are generally held on Saturday mornings for a few hours.
  • Please bring a means of taking notes and a personal Bible.
  • In general, coffee or water is available, but you may bring a light snack if you wish.
  • Location of the session is based on need and location of current applicants.
  • Sessions do move throughout the diocese to attempt to cover all eight counties of Western New York.
  • Formation sessions are generally completed in person, but the Office of Worship will pilot virtual sessions soon – see below for details.
  • The mandate you receive enables you to minister at Mass and to visit the sick/shut-ins with Holy Communion.

  • Your mandate is to minister in your particular parish or parish family, even though you are sponsored formally by your particular parish church.

  • Your mandate is only valid in the Diocese of Buffalo. However, if you move out of the diocese, please contact the Office of Worship to have your mandate transferred.

  • Likewise, if you move to a different parish family within the diocese, please contact us to have your mandate reaffirmed.

Eucharistic Ministry Formation Sessions – Virtual Pilot

The Office of Worship will soon be piloting virtual sessions via ZOOM. If you think you might be a good fit for this method of learning, please contact Sessions will be held on three consecutive weeknights and initially will only be open to 10 participants.

Please download and complete the registration form, complete with pastor signature and parish seal, as you would for an in-person session, but on the line that is labeled “training location” please write “Virtual Requested.”

Eucharistic Ministry Formation Sessions – In-Person

Saturday, February 25, 2023 at 9:30 AM

Our next in-person session will be held at St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish (5271 Clinton St., Elma, NY 14059). The training will be held in the Parish Center, next to the church. If you submitted an application already, you will be contacted soon.

Please note that there is a fee of $30 per person to cover the cost of training materials for the session. This may be paid by personal or parish check, sent to the Office of Worship, 795 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14203. If a parish is paying for multiple candidates, please enclose a list of names. Thank you!

Questions? Please call (716) 847-5545 or email