Emergency Minister of the Eucharist

March 31, 2003

Source: The Washington Post

On March 31, 2003 The Washington Post reported that "as a top officer in a combat helicopter squadron, Army Maj. Mike Mahony is used to emergencies. Two of his pilots were shot down last week. His unit's AH-64 Apache helicopters were damaged by Iraqi artillery. But this morning, he was handling a different kind of emergency: getting Communion to troops near the front lines... Mahony is an emergency minister of the Eucharist, or EME, a layman trained to administer the sacrament of Communion because of a shortage of Roman Catholic chaplains. Today soldiers like him were at work in dusty U.S. military encampments in different parts of Iraq, delivering to American servicemen and women Communion wafers previously consecrated by a priest... The ministers are part of a broad U.S. military effort to bring men of God to men at war. Hundreds of chaplains are accompanying U.S. troops in the Iraqi theater, carrying supplies for Jewish, Muslim and Christian services. Specially trained Catholic soldiers have brought thousands of consecrated hosts to the battlefield, sometimes stashing them in their camouflage vests."