Skip to comments.[ECUMENICAL] QUAERITUR: lay Communion minister wouldn’t bless me
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 Im 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.
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.
Thank Goodness for Father Z. Thank you for sharing, markomalley.
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!
>>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.
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?
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?
I'd say it's very possible that parish doesn't.
>>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.
>>Is it possible that your church does not follow Biblical teachings?<<
Oh for heaven’s sake.
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)
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!
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.
This must be a catholic thing.
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.
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.
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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.