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[ECUMENICAL] QUAERITUR: lay Communion minister wouldn’t bless me
WDTPRS ^ | 8/22/2010 | Fr John Zuhlsdorf

Posted on 08/22/2010 9:26:55 AM PDT by markomalley

From a reader:

Today I attended a mass at my university and had a difficult experience with one of the Eucharistic ministers. I approached with my hands folded in order to receive a blessing (no communion for me this time), and she refused to offer it. She simply went on saying "The Body of Christ", expecting me to receive. I was not in the appropriate state of grace to do so, so I was forced to simply walk away. Do you think that there is some local custom that I’m unaware of with regards to blessings, or is this the case of an improperly trained minister?
There are a few issues here which must be unsnarled.

First, lay people who are helping to distribute Communion have no business giving blessings.  Therefore, I am glad that the person didn’t attempt to bless you in the manner of a priest.  Yours is a good example why lay ministers of Communion should never make the gesture of blessing in the manner of a priest.  Such a practice confuses people, just as you were confused in the moment you described.


Second, it is a matter of debate whether blessings should be given at the Communion rail at all.  I am of the opinion that they should not be.  Holy Mass has its moment for a blessing: at the end.  The time of Holy Communion is the time for Holy Communion, not for blessings even if they are from the deacon or priest. 

Third, it strikes me that this whole blessing thing at Communion time evolved from a overly sentimental notion that no one should be excluded from being able to go forward. 

Fourth, a great deal of psychological pressure is placed on people who for one reason or another have no reason to go forward at Communion time.  The practice of row by row Communion increases the psychological pressure.  In my opinion it should be slowly by surely eliminated.


Fifth, I think the shortened Eucharist fast also played its part in putting undue psychological pressure on people to go forward at Communion time.  In the past, if a person was in the state of sin, it was possible for people assume that she had eaten something rather than that she had committed some black and unspeakable delict.

Sixth, if you know you are not in the state of grace, then I recommend that you make a spiritual communion while remaining in your pew.  You may not have ever heard of "making a spiritual communion".  I am sure that the readers will chime in about this in the combox, below.

Seventh, we must help people shake the idea that they are obliged to got forward, on the one hand, or that, on the other, they have the right to receive even if they know they are not in the state of grace. 


Let Communion time be for Communions, whether actual or spiritual.


TOPICS: Catholic
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 08/22/2010 9:26:56 AM PDT by markomalley
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To: markomalley

Thank Goodness for Father Z. Thank you for sharing, markomalley.


2 posted on 08/22/2010 9:31:04 AM PDT by sayuncledave (A cruce salus)
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To: sayuncledave

Wow! A Catholic who knows he is unable to receive. Think about the others who receive but have no concept of being in the state of grace!


3 posted on 08/22/2010 9:40:46 AM PDT by MIchaelTArchangel (Obama makes me miss Jimmah Cahtah!)
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To: sayuncledave

Amen!


4 posted on 08/22/2010 9:41:23 AM PDT by CatQuilt (Lover of cats =^..^= and quilts)
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To: markomalley

>>First, lay people who are helping to distribute Communion have no business giving blessings. <<

How about this? Bring back the communion rail and dump the EMHCs. My girls sing at an Historic Church downtown. One priest, one deacon, two communion rails. It never takes longer than 10 minutes.

That being said, My DH is an EMHC. In my parish, they are just what they are supposed to be. Extraordinary. But understanding that we have six Masses on the weekend, packed, we do have times where there are not enough priests to cover everyone.

He was told that if someone comes forward (mostly children), that there is to be NO laying of hands on that person. Just the general “May God Bless you.” as he holds up the host.

Laity is not to give a blessing. Period.


5 posted on 08/22/2010 9:41:56 AM PDT by netmilsmom (I am inyenzi on the Religion Forum)
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To: netmilsmom
That being said, My DH is an EMHC. In my parish, they are just what they are supposed to be. Extraordinary. But understanding that we have six Masses on the weekend, packed, we do have times where there are not enough priests to cover everyone.

Similar situation in my parish.

But we have three priests and four deacons. That sounds like 7 ordinary ministers of Holy Communion to me, doesn't it to you?

Not that you'd know about it for any of those six Masses on a given weekend. Yes, surely, on Christmas midnight, Palm Sunday, and the Triduum...but, otherwise?

6 posted on 08/22/2010 9:46:26 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: markomalley

I Corinthians 11:17 - 34 seems complete about Communion, and I see nothing in it about a “blessing” (but we are told to judge ourselves prior to partaking). Is it possible that your church does not follow Biblical teachings?


7 posted on 08/22/2010 9:48:28 AM PDT by Joann37
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To: Joann37
Is it possible that your church does not follow Biblical teachings?

I'd say it's very possible that parish doesn't.

8 posted on 08/22/2010 9:49:49 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: markomalley

>>Not that you’d know about it for any of those six Masses on a given weekend. Yes, surely, on Christmas midnight, Palm Sunday, and the Triduum...but, otherwise?<<

My DH has been called upon twice in his three years of Ushering. He is about as Extraordinary as they get. Priests and Deacons show up for every one of our masses. Even the 8:30pm on Sunday.

We are blessed to have many young men from our parish who are now Priests. If our pastor jets off to our sister parish in Africa or back home to Slovakia, he is covered by the Priests who grew up there.
Last week, we attended the 1:30 Mass and my absolute favorite Priest was visiting from Kenya. He had been with us for a time but had to go back home to care for his mother when his dad died.

They all visit and help. Along with that, we have two retired Priests. We have it pretty good.


9 posted on 08/22/2010 9:56:34 AM PDT by netmilsmom (I am inyenzi on the Religion Forum)
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To: Joann37

>>Is it possible that your church does not follow Biblical teachings?<<

Oh for heaven’s sake.


10 posted on 08/22/2010 9:59:41 AM PDT by netmilsmom (I am inyenzi on the Religion Forum)
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To: netmilsmom
We are blessed to have many young men from our parish who are now Priests. If our pastor jets off to our sister parish in Africa or back home to Slovakia, he is covered by the Priests who grew up there.

Well, that is EXCELLENT.

As a matter of a fact, one could say EXTRAORDINARY!

We, unfortunately, don't have priests show up for Masses where they are not scheduled to celebrate...and the deacons one will find in the congregation as much as up front.

(Mind you, I'm not asking for much...just for them to stay back in the sacristy until time to distribute communion and then come out...and leave as soon as communion is distributed...so it's maybe a 10-15 minute stint per Mass)

11 posted on 08/22/2010 10:05:26 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: netmilsmom

I have come to a life’s experiences that people who are constant nitpickers could never do the Job right themselves because they are too busy doing what they do best. Nitpick here! Nitpick there!


12 posted on 08/22/2010 10:23:21 AM PDT by johngrace (God so loved the world so he gave his only son! Praise Jesus and Hail Mary!)
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To: netmilsmom
<> Nonsense. What is the basis for this?
13 posted on 08/22/2010 10:32:33 AM PDT by SgtHooper
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To: markomalley

Lay Extraordinary Ministers do not ‘Bless’ people. Folks not able to receive Communion should get in the Priest or Deacon’s line, in order to receive a Blessing.


14 posted on 08/22/2010 11:03:01 AM PDT by SuziQ
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To: SuziQ

This must be a catholic thing.


15 posted on 08/22/2010 11:45:13 AM PDT by SgtHooper
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To: markomalley
The practice of row by row Communion increases the psychological pressure. In my opinion it should be slowly by surely eliminated.

This does not, to me, make any sense. If people do not proceed to Communion in some orderly fashion (such as row by row), how are they supposed to do so? Randomly, as each feels moved?

16 posted on 08/22/2010 2:02:45 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Maven of alcoholic beverage bargains!)
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To: Tax-chick
This does not, to me, make any sense. If people do not proceed to Communion in some orderly fashion (such as row by row), how are they supposed to do so? Randomly, as each feels moved?

Well, I am unqualified to put words in Father Z's mouth.

When I read that, I interpreted it to mean the assembly-line like fashion where EVERYBODY gets up to receive communion. A person sitting out because he/she acknowledges him/herself not properly disposed to receive communion is a rarity (at least in the majority of parishes I visit) and would stand out like a sore thumb.

17 posted on 08/22/2010 2:10:14 PM PDT by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: markomalley

People could use sore-thumb-hood as an evangelical opportunity. (If only to evangelize for “None of your business.”)

I think the practice of blessing a congregant who does not receive Communion has more to do with families’ bringing young children with them, since you can’t leave them in the pews most of the time.


18 posted on 08/22/2010 2:21:28 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Maven of alcoholic beverage bargains!)
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To: markomalley; Irisshlass; informavoracious; larose; RJR_fan; Prospero; Conservative Vermont Vet; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.

19 posted on 08/22/2010 2:25:45 PM PDT by narses ( 'Prefer nothing to the love of Christ.')
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To: markomalley

The priest is the only one who is authorized to extend a blessing.

As a minister of Holy Communion, sometimes people cross their hands over their chest and I simply put my hand on their shoulder and say that God loves them.

Lay ministers are NOT to trace a cross on a parishioner’s forehead — only the priest can do that.

So, I guess I agree with Father Z most of the way.


20 posted on 08/22/2010 2:39:35 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: markomalley



An Act of
Spiritual
Communion

My Jesus,
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment
receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.  I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.  Never permit me to be separated from You.

Amen.


21 posted on 08/22/2010 2:43:34 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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22 posted on 08/22/2010 3:09:49 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: SgtHooper

>><> Nonsense. What is the basis for this?<<

http://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/blessings.htm


23 posted on 08/22/2010 3:33:26 PM PDT by netmilsmom (I am inyenzi on the Religion Forum)
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To: markomalley

>>just for them to stay back in the sacristy until time to distribute communion and then come out...and leave as soon as communion is distributed...so it’s maybe a 10-15 minute stint per Mass<<

That’s exactly what happens in our parish. When they renovated, they left the Priest’s House attached physically to the church. They have an intercom so they can hear the mass.

They come in during the Agnus Dei and stay to help clean vessels. You’re right, about 10 minutes.


24 posted on 08/22/2010 3:37:59 PM PDT by netmilsmom (I am inyenzi on the Religion Forum)
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To: SgtHooper
It's a practice that began a few years ago, for folks who are not able to receive Holy Communion, for whatever reason, but wanted to receive a Blessing from the priest. They come forward, in the line for Holy Communion, but when they reach the priest, or deacon, cross their hands over their chests, instead of opening their mouths or holding out their hands for receiving Holy Communion.

My brother-in-law had Life Teen masses on Sunday evenings, and many of the Catholic kids brought their non-Catholic friends with them. Their non-Catholic friends wanted to be a greater part of the Mass, but couldn't receive Holy Communion, so my b-i-l simply told them to come forward, and if he saw that their arms were crossed, he'd give them a Blessing, instead of the Body and Blood of Christ. He knew who was Catholic, and who was not, because he was closely involved with the Catholic high school, and the youth program in the Parish.

25 posted on 08/22/2010 5:37:27 PM PDT by SuziQ
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To: markomalley

CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP AND THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SACRAMENT

INSTRUCTION

Redemptionis Sacramentum

On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided
regarding the Most Holy Eucharist

This Instruction, prepared by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments by mandate of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II in collaboration with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was approved by the same Pontiff on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, 19 March 2004, and he ordered it to be published and to be observed immediately by all concerned.

From the offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Rome, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, 25 March 2004.

Francis Card. Arinze
Prefect

1. The Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion
[154.] As has already been recalled, “the only minister who can confect the Sacrament of the Eucharist in persona Christi is a validly ordained Priest”.[254] Hence the name “minister of the Eucharist” belongs properly to the Priest alone. Moreover, also by reason of their sacred Ordination, the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are the Bishop, the Priest and the Deacon,[255] to whom it belongs therefore to administer Holy Communion to the lay members of Christ’s faithful during the celebration of Mass. In this way their ministerial office in the Church is fully and accurately brought to light, and the sign value of the Sacrament is made complete.[155.]

In addition to the ordinary ministers there is the formally instituted acolyte, who by virtue of his institution is an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion even outside the celebration of Mass. If, moreover, reasons of real necessity prompt it, another lay member of Christ’s faithful may also be delegated by the diocesan Bishop, in accordance with the norm of law,[256] for one occasion or for a specified time, and an appropriate formula of blessing may be used for the occasion. This act of appointment, however, does not necessarily take a liturgical form, nor, if it does take a liturgical form, should it resemble sacred Ordination in any way. Finally, in special cases of an unforeseen nature, permission can be given for a single occasion by the Priest who presides at the celebration of the Eucharist.[257]

[156.] This function is to be understood strictly according to the name by which it is known, that is to say, that of extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, and not “special minister of Holy Communion” nor “extraordinary minister of the Eucharist” nor “special minister of the Eucharist”, by which names the meaning of this function is unnecessarily and improperly broadened.

[157.] If there is usually present a sufficient number of sacred ministers for the distribution of Holy Communion, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion may not be appointed. (In the Boise diocese, this is very, very rare.) Indeed, in such circumstances, those who may have already been appointed to this ministry should not exercise it. The practice of those Priests is reprobated who, even though present at the celebration, abstain from distributing Communion and hand this function over to laypersons.[258]

[158.] Indeed, the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may administer Communion only when the Priest and Deacon are lacking, when the Priest is prevented by weakness or advanced age or some other genuine reason, or when the number of faithful coming to Communion is so great that the very celebration of Mass would be unduly prolonged.[259] This, however, is to be understood in such a way that a brief prolongation, considering the circumstances and culture of the place, is not at all a sufficient reason.

[159.] It is never allowed for the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion to delegate anyone else to administer the Eucharist, as for example a parent or spouse or child of the sick person who is the communicant.

[160.] Let the diocesan Bishop give renewed consideration to the practice in recent years regarding this matter, and if circumstances call for it, let him correct it or define it more precisely. Where such extraordinary ministers are appointed in a widespread manner out of true necessity, the diocesan Bishop should issue special norms by which he determines the manner in which this function is to be carried out in accordance with the law, bearing in mind the tradition of the Church.


26 posted on 08/22/2010 7:08:47 PM PDT by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: Tax-chick
Randomly, as each feels moved?

Yes, exactly. For so many reasons. This isn't grade school.

27 posted on 08/23/2010 7:48:48 AM PDT by Romulus (The Traditional Latin Mass is the real Youth Mass)
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