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The woman Grapte referred to in I.2.IV of the Shepherd of Hermas is understood to have been a deaconess. The duties of deaconesses, however, are not understood to be equivalent to those of deacons, but involved, rather, ministering to widows and orphans, and perhaps helping to prepare and baptize women. The above passage is an example: You will write ...


The official website of the Vatican seems to be silent on this issue. Nevertheless it may be up to the local ordinary to make special norms for the diocese in question! The following is taken from Redemptionis Sacramentum of the Vatican: [160.] Let the diocesan Bishop give renewed consideration to the practice in recent years regarding this matter, and ...


Lay "Eucharistic Ministers" are a post-Vatican II novelty, as is Communion in the hand. The actual norms only permit them in cases of grave necessity (e.g., in regions where there is no priest). See, e.g., The Eucharistic Storms: Communion in the hand and marginalizing the Real Presence by Barry Forbes.

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