Eucharistic Minister's Necklace



Eucharistic Minister's Necklace


Catholic Church—Liturgical objects
Catholic Church—Liturgy without a priest
Christian patron saints
Hispanic American Catholics


The Necklace and the first picture in the frame go together. The necklace resembles one that Eucharistic ministers wear while distributing the sacrament of the Eucharist (also known as Communion) to the congregation during Mass. When asked about the personal significance, Ruben Valencia said “Ministerio de La Iglecia,” referencing that he is a minister with the church. If one looks closely at the cross, it says “Society of St. Vincent de Paul.”

This artifact was likely made by the society of St. Vincent de Paul. French law student Frederic Ozanam established the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in April of 1833. The society describes itself on its website as “a Catholic lay organization” where members “are united in an international society of charity by their spirit of poverty, humility, and sharing.” The group took as its founding saint, St. Vincent de Paul, the patron saint of charitable works. Eventually, the Society migrated to the United States, where a group of Catholic clergymen established the US iteration in St. Louis, Missouri in 1846. Presently, the society remains active in 8 regions across the United States, including Waterbury, CT. The iconography in the accompanying picture likely represents St. Vincent de Paul, and the scroll he holds reads “Let all things be done with charity,” likely referring to his status as the patron saint of charities.

In the Catholic faith, usually only deacons, priests and bishops can administer the Sacrament of the Eucharist (aka the body and blood of Christ, aka that thing Catholics do during church where they eat a bread wafer and drink some grape juice and talk to Jesus afterward). However, if the size of the congregation demands it, or if no deacon, priest, or bishop is available, then the church will allow for the ordination of a faithful member to act as a Eucharistic minister to serve and administer Communion on behalf of the congregation.

Becoming a Eucharistic minister for some connects them closer to those in the faith community, if one is seen while distributing Communion more people would be likely to know them. One might become involved with other areas of the church like helping at bingo, the soup kitchen or other events held by the church. Holy items so importance to the person that possess them for instance the cross necklace defines Ruben and gives him a title of Eucharistic Minister. Holy articles like the pictures might define who a person is and they might devote prayers to the saints pictured. St. Vincent De Paul is a big one because of charities, there are many St. Vincent De Paul homeless shelters including one in my home town. Charity might be one important aspect in Ruben’s life.  One might live his/her life through charity, that is a beautiful gift to possess it is so hard to find people who are willing to give their time to help others. In Latino communities, oftentimes religious organizations have helped those struggling in their communities in any way they can. 

Citations for Supplementary Sources and Context: 

Smith, Timothy L. “Religion and Ethnicity in America.” The American Historical Review 83, no.
            5 (Dec. 1978): 1155-1185.

Espinosa, Gastón. “‘Today We Act, Tomorrow We Vote’: Latino Religions, Politics, and
            Activism in Contemporary U.S. Civil Society.” The Annals of the Academy of Political
            and Social Science
612, Religious Pluralism and Civil Society (July 2007): 152-171.

Matovina, Timothy. “Remapping American Catholicism.” U.S. Catholic Historian 28, no. 4
            (Fall, 2010):  31-72.

Matovina, Timothy. Latino Catholicism: Transformation in America’s Largest Church.
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012.

Dias, Elizabeth. “Why One in Four U.S. Latinos Now Identify As Former Catholics.” Time, May
            7, 2014.

Sandoval, Moises. On the Move: A History of the Hispanic Church in the United States.
            Mayknoll, NY: Orbit Books. 1990.

Entry Author: Anthony Mastroianni


The Society of St. Vincent de Paul


Personal Collection of Ruben Valencia


Ruben Valencia


Accession Date: April 29, 2018


Ruben Valencia


Copyright to this resource is held by Ruben Valencia and is provided here by CCSU for educational purposes only.


.JPG Image File




Physical Object


History Harvest 2018 Object #17


New Britain, CT; Connecticut; 2018; 2010s; 21st century.



The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, “Eucharistic Minister's Necklace,” Latino History Harvest, accessed April 18, 2024,

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